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too, with the Impressions of these Shells upon them; and others, to which the Shells or Pieces of them stuck fast.
I have also found various kinds of the Echinus, or Sea-Urchint; such as the Diadema Turcarum, the Echinus in Dicus, and the Echinus Spatagus, which is the most common here ; many of them resembling Buttons of various Forms and Sizes, and others of a direct oval Figure. And it is worth while to observe, that several of them, tho whole, are squeezed flat, and their Heads bruised, by which they appear to have suffer'd violent Pressures ; and many of this kind are even petrified. Amongst the Echia nus, as well as the Shells, you meet with some quite fill'd with the Marl amidst which you find them, and some of them wholly petrified. I have also seen fair Impressions of the Echirus upon Pebbles ; and found in the Hollow and the Depth of the Mountains Oyster-Shells enclosed in the Stone, some of which were in their natural State, and others petrified.
Besides these Shells, I have found several Heads or new Shoots of that Herb, which in Latin is called Equisetum, and vulgarly Horse-tail, quite petrified, several of thení being heaped up together without order; and sometimes separate Pieces of this Herb petrify'd, and also several of that sort of Mushrooms, properly called Puff-balls. And what deserves to be particularly observed is, That in the Depth of these Mountains you may find many Fragments of different Shells, sometimes dispersed about, fometimes mixed together, without any order, wrapped up in the stony or shardy Substance, or else as it were inchased in the Pebbles.
You may easily imagine, Sir, that after having made these Difcoveries, I was naturally inclined to search into the Cause of them, and enquire how these Plants and Shells came enclosed in the Depth of Mountains. Having read what I could on this Subject, I found that the most common Opinion, and which has been followed by the Generality of learned Men, was, That these Shells and Plants which are in the Mountains, whether petrified or not, have remained there ever since Noah's Flood, having been carried over the Earth by the Sea which overflow'd litz and being dispersed up and down by its Waters, at length funk into the Mud which these Waters had caufed, and by which the Mountains were form’d.
which have been the Fishermen
I must own, that at first I gave into this Opinion ; but examin ning the Matter a little more strictly, I found it was far from being founded upon Truth ; for although the Sea did at the time of the Deluge overflow the World, yet does it not follow from thence, that it carried its Shells all over the Earth. Those who know nothing of the Sea, may perhaps imagine, that Shells swim upon the Waters, and are carried about every where with them; but whoever will take the Pains to search into it, will soon be sensible, that these Shells being of a hard and folid Substance, naturally go to the Bottom: And as Bernard Palilly, in his Dife course of Waters, Fountains, &c. very welt obferves, the ShellFilhes cleave so close to the Rocks, that the bare Flux and Rea flux of the Sea cannot move them. Nor do we find, even when its Waters overflow with the greatest Rapidity, and Violence, that it carries its Shells into the Fields and Meadows which it overfpreads; we barely, see that it rowls upon its Sands, fome few light Shells, which have been forcibly pluckt by fome body, or other from the Rocks, or which the Fishermen have, cast away. . Besides, That prodigious heap of Marl (in which some of thefe Shells are found, and which reaches quite throughout our Province) goes, so very deep, that we can dig no further for the Waters; and yet, before, we have been hindered, we have fometimes gone. Ninety Fathom deep. And could füch vast heaps of Stone and Marl be formed out of the Mud, which settled from the Waters of the Deluge that covered the Earth the space of a Year only? If these Mountains consist only of Mud, how came they to be. as white as the purest Chalk, which make up the Body of thefe Mountains ? Or could Waters which pass over the Surface of the Earth with impetuous Force, carry off such pure and unmix'd Parts of it?.
If these Mountains were made up of that Mud, ought we not, when we have digged to a certain Depth, find the ancient, Earth on which this Mud first rested? Would one not see a palpable Difference between the two Soils ? Should we not find upon the Surface of the old Earth Stumps of Trees, either petrified, or at least to be distinguished by their Colour from this white: Mud, as well as the remains of other Things which were, there before the Flood ? And lastly, Ought we not in this Mud to find more Bones of Men and Beasts than Shells and Fishes, since fuch a Number of them were drowned at that time?
. If all the Marl in our Mountains, and which is regularly found at such a Depth throughout several Provinces, be part of this Mud, from whence comes that rich Arable Ground which covers this Marl? or the Potters Earth form’d of different kinds of Sands, and which is over the Marl and Shardy Substance ; not only in the low Valleys, but even upon the highest Plains? Is it another Mud which has refted upon the first ? At this rate there must have been two Deluges, some time one after another. : There is no probability therefore, that these Shells, and the other things I have been mentioning, which are to be met with in the Mountains, were brought there by the Flood. Nor is it to be prefumed, that these Shells were naturally form'd there, as others will have it; for then we should find them whole, and with thefe Differences only, that somê would be bigger than others, and fome better form'd than the rest ; but when we find them flat and bruised, and crush'd, and at the same time placed deeper in the Mountains, than any one had ever diğged before ; may we not conclude, that they have suffer'd this Pressure since the first receiving of their natural Shape ? and that the Moun, tains, fince their being solid, as they are, could not press them in that manner? The Fragments of the Shells too are found in the Stones, or wrapp'd in the Marl; and different Pieces of them at a considerable Distance from each other: These could not be form'd thus, but must have been broke by fome violent force,
Tis the same with the petrified Plants, which are often found in feperate Pieces, and which could not possibly have grown in that Manner.
Lastly, There are others of Opinion, that thefe Mountains, and all the Places where we find such Shells, were formerly part of the Sea which Earthquakes have thus raised, and from whence the Waters have retired to confine themselves in low and hollow Places. What confirms them moft in this Opinion, is, that feveral Places have been swallowed up by Earthquakes, and have become Lakes; some have been overflow'd by the Waters; whilst on the other hand, Islands have been seen to appear on a sudden in the midst of the Sea. Such a thing as this happened in our Days, in the Gulph of St. Santcrin, where a new Inand rose as it were out of the Deep, in the Year 1707. :
But allowing all this to be true, it does not follow that those Places and Countries where we find fuch Shells were formerly
on the other be the Sea. Suchyterin, where a n
covered by the Sea, and that they have undergone such great Revolutions ; for we must then conclude, that almost all our present dry Lands, and the largest Kingdoms, but more particularly that of France, must have been once wholly under Water ; since there are very few Countries where some of these Shells are not to be found, either in the Grounds or the Mountains.
Was it true, that these Mountains had formerly been part of the Sea, the Shells we find in them would be in the same Condition as they are in the Sea ; but this is far from being true : As for Example, you never take one Echinus Spatagus out of the Sea,, but you find the Head full of Sand and Gravel, which cannot easily be got out of it ; whereas, in those that are in the Mountains, although it visibly appears that they never have been moved since they were there, you cannot find the least Grain of Sand or Gravel. And had these Mountains been once part of the Deep, from whence come those Heads and other Pieces of 'the Herb Horse-tail, or the Puff-balls, which I have often found in the same place with the Shells ? 'Tis very certain, these Plants do not grow in the Sea.
But, waving the other Objections, can it be supposed that these Bottoms of the Sea, having been dry'd up by Shocks and Earthquakes, should of themselves have produced such vast Forests, as we see growing upon the Top of some of them? Do Oaks and Trees grow upon those Lands which the Sea has once covered ? And yet this too must be supposed, since, according to Bernard Palily, 'cis in Ardenne particularly that such Shells are to be found; and this, we are assured was a vast Forest in Ceefar's Time. But I must conclude this Letter, which is already too long; I shall take another Opportunity of giving you iny Opinion upon this Matter. In the mean time I am, &c. CrossRIJANSITOISINAUSOS SAXOAN
Mr. Capperon's Second Letter.
Dated from Eu the 15th of June, 1724. I Am now set down to perform my Promise, and give you iny 1 Opinion of those Shells and Plants which are found in the Mountains, &c. I lhall therefore without farther Preface tell you,
that I am fully convinced they have been there ever since the Creation of the World ; that they serve to justify the Account of it deliver'd by Moses, and to make what he says agree with some other Texts of Scripture which seem to contradict it; and also to reconcile the different Opinions of the Fathers and Interpreters; of whom some will have it, that all Creatures were created at the same time, whilst others think that the Space of fix Days was taken up in the Performance of that Work.
My Belief therefore, Sir, is, that as Moses tells us, God made the Heaven and Earth in an Instant, and created all things at once, that is, all the Matter which was afterwards employ'd in forming the World, and every thing in it ; and that the Place in which we now dwell was a Composition of Earth and Water mix'd together : for, as * Pbilo tells us, the Earth was like a Spunge, into which the Water had every where penetrated ; and this, says he, form'd a Kind of Mud or Slough; and, according to Moses, 'twas upon this Mass without Form that the Spirit of God moved.: That is, according to the + Hebrew Text, the Almighty Spirit of God acting upon this Mass rendred it fruitful, and made use of it to produce and form those Animals, whichi were afterwards to move in or upon those Elements we now fee.
Notwithstanding that by this first Operation of God, all those Creatures which were to have a Being were form'd in that first Instant; yet it is proper to observe, that they were all mix'd together without any Order, as in a kind of a Chaos ; and tho' both Plants and Animals had their natura! Form, and were perfectly organized, yet had they neither Motion nor Life: for in this Slough and this Confusion, Life and Motion would have been so far from being serviceable to 'em, that it might have prov'd their Destruction. • This I take to have been the State of the World at the first In'stant of its Creation, and if Moses tells us that God employ'd fix Days in creating all things, we must understand that those fix
* Quoniam universa qua in totam terram diffusa erat omnesq; ejus Par. tes penetraverat, quemadmodum Spongia humorem cumbibebat, ut ceu pam dus quædam eæenosa ex utroq; Elemento maceraco confunderetur. Philo Judo lib. de mundi opifico
it Hebraica vos significar 'quali Spiritus incubet, foveat instar avis aquam, jamg; ad generationem animalium moveat, Propert. Gezo in O&atuc.