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we may safely pronounce, that they have no better chance of finally disappearing than those lunar shadows.
To compare, in conclusion, the two greatest English poets, I would say, that Shakspeare represents the romantic, Milton the classical school of poetry. The one is essentially national, native, popular,the other foreign, antique and learned. The one is like a Gothic structure, varied in plan and adorned with a thousand brilliant colours, and an endless variety of carvings of animated and inanimate beingsthe other, like a Greek temple, simple and grand in outline, but scientifically correct in proportions and ornaments. Milton studied and reproduced the ancients, Shakspeare studied and painted nature. To understand and enjoy Milton, it is necessary to have a knowledge of classical antiquity, but Shakspeare will live and flourish as long as man has an open eye and a warm heart for all that is beautiful and good or great in the spiritual and physical world.
ROYAL INSTITUTION.–February 20, 1854.
JOSEPH DICKINSON, M.D., F.L.S., &c., PRESIDENT, in the Chair.
The SECRETARY read a “Report of the Delegates from the four Learned Societies of Liverpool, which publish Transactions, on the subject of Union,” when the President appointed Saturday, the 4th March next, at half past Seven p.m., to take the subject into consideration.
The Rev. WILLIAM BANISTER, and Mr. GEORGE MELLY, were ballotted for, and duly elected Ordinary Members.
Mr. F. P. MARRAT exhibited specimens of Minerals, viz.: Arsenical Sulphuret of Cobalt, from Tunaberg, Sweden, and Sulphate of Lead, from Seven Churches, Wicklow.
The Rev. Dr. HUME made some observations respecting the history and probable use of a number of flint hammer heads and axes, which were libited to the Society. He also mentioned the fact that Mr. Mayer had offered to purchase the valuable Faussett Museum of Saxon Antiquities which had been offered to the Trustees of the British Museum for £680, but which they refused to purchase.
Mr. WILLIAM FERGUSON, F.L.S., F.G.S., &c., read a Paper ON THE RAISED BEACHES OF THE FRITH OF CLYDE;
WITH NOTICES OF THE DISCOVERY OF NUMEROUS ANCIENT CANOES IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD OF
GLASGOW. The more recent of the geological changes, which the surface of our earth has undergone, are not the least puzzling. There are evidences of changes and counter-changes, oscillations of the surface, elevation, depression, and elevation again, which are wondrously perplexing, and complicate the study of recent geology to a very great degree. Whether this arises from the greater number of the observed facts relating to this period, as compared with the older eras, or whether it is, that these recent periods have been subjected to a greater variety of disturbing influences than the others, it would be hard to determine. It is at any rate true, that much greater unanimity prevails among geological writers in their theories of the earlier deposits, their reconstructions of the aspects the earth presented during their continuance, and the circumstances under which their inhabitants existed and perished, than does with respect to almost all that comes within the range of the post tertiary division of the science. The veil has been lifted, with some apparent degree of truth, from off the various systems, which, one after another, have each been once “ the present.” We recognize a Silurian period, characterized by a profusion of zoophytes, shells, and cuttle fishes, with the latter of which probably the trilobite disputed preeminence, the whole system presenting us with but very meagre evidence of vertebrated inhabitants. The labours of Hugh Miller have restored the forms and habits of the families of mail-clad fishes which predominate in the old red sand-stone period; and the carboniferous system has once more, in imagination, waved its forests of palms and gigantic tree ferns and towering reeds before our delighted gaze. The lands and seas of the various groups which succeed have been re-peopled, and their terrible reptiles and mammoth quadrupeds have been pourtrayed. And all this has been done with a striking degree of unanimity, going far to vouch for the truthfulness of the conclusions arrived at. But the period of the drift, and the boulders, and the sea beaches, is still, in the extremest sense of the term, “ Debateable land,” and from
this very cause is not the least interesting portion of geologic science.
In the remarks which I have now the honour to submit to the Society, I do not propose to enter into any theoretical discussion, but merely to attempt a brief account of several appearances which the Frith of Clyde presents, and the analogues of which may be met with on this and every other coast.
In doing so, I cannot claim originality. Much of what I shall lay before you I have myself observed, but the subject has already been largely written on by such men as Mr. Smith, of Jordan-hill, Mr. Charles MacLaren, Mr. Robert Chambers, and many more. I am induced to make this communication, less perhaps by the hope that the local details of a district so far removed as the estuary of the Clyde is from that of the Mersey, will be interesting to you, as by a desire that the class of facts with which I shall have to deal should be brought under your notice, that your attention may thereby be directed as opportunity may offer to the observation and recording of the similar appearances which this neighbourhood also abundantly presents.
My attention was more particularly directed to this branch of geology by a circumstance, an account of which I had the honour of giving at the time to the Philosophical Society of Glasgow. Those acquainted with the topographical features of Glasgow, will remember that the town is built on a series of ridges of some eminence, running parallel, or nearly so, to the River Clyde, and that a slight hollow betwixt two of these, namely, Blytheswood Hill and the commencement of Garnet Hill, is occupied by Sauchiehall-street. In digging a drain in this street, in the summer of 1850, the workmen, after going down about four feet, came to a bed of pure peat, one foot thick, and below that they dug four feet through beds of sand, containing shells of the common species, " Trochus Ziziphanus.” In prosecuting my inquiries, I soon found that the occurrence of shells at heights above the level of the sea, from 40 to 300 feet, was not at all uncommon in the valley of the Clydle.
Of a relative change in the level of the sea and land, denoted by this ancient beach in the heart of Glasgow, we have no want of corroborative proofs. Some of these I shall proceed to describe.
Commencing with the Island of Arran, we find there undeniable evidence of this alteration of level. The road from Brodick to Corrie, and so on round the north end of the Island, occupies a flat and level, but not broad, space of ground, a little elevated above the level of the sea, and backed by a series of cliffs of considerable height, and the vertical faces of which are water-worn and hollowed out into caves. The cliffs are of sand-stone, belonging to a part of the Old Red Group, and the caves are due to the action of waves at one time beating against them.
Professor Ramsay, in his account of the Geology of Arran, says :“ It will have been observed that an ancient sea-cliff overhange the narrow plain intervening between the sea and the ascent of the hill to the north of Brodick. Between this cliff and the road, in what is now at many places ploughed fields, numerous recent shells, often in a perfect state of preservation, are mingled with the soil. The presence of these shells in such a locality, sufficiently indicates that what is now cultivated ground was formerly the sea-shore, which must, therefore, have been elevated to its present position above the tidal level, by subsequent upheaving agencies.”
I visited this place in the summer of 1819, and obtained from the sides of a ditch, in what was then a field waving with corn, many specimens of shells. They are broken and worn ; but when it is remembered they were found at some distance from the sea, and at a much higher level than the sea ever reaches now, they are not without interest. From my note-book I copy the following account of my finding these shells :-"I had looked for the evidences of the ancient beach, all along, but as yet had not picked up any shells. When we had passed Port-Na-Claoch, and were still a mile or so north of Markland Point, I asked an old man who was working on the road, whether he had seen any, as now, from the profuse vegetation, I could see none. He said he had often dug marl when he crofted a bit there,' and bade me look behind the first rock, which,' he said, “keppet the shells when the tide gaed oot ;'“for,' added he, “the sea has been ower a' this, an' up at the rocks yonder, for the auld road gaed aboon there.' I did as he recommended, and in the first hollow, behind a mass of rock, at the edge of a corn-field, I found shells."
A little farther up the Frith are the islands of the Greater and Lesser Cumbraes : the former well known from the favourite watering place of Millport, and the new Scotch Episcopalian College, situated on it. On the lesser Cumbrae, which is little more than a great rock, the same ancient beach is distinctly observable. On one end of this island, an old tower of extreme antiquity is built on the raised beach. Here, as in Arran, the beach is flat and narrow, very little raised above the present level of the sea, and immediately flanked by cliffs, rising abruptly from it. I have not landed on this beach, and do not know if it yields fossil evidence of its pristine character.
The Island of Bute presents us with the same physical conformation. On entering the Bay of Rothesay, to the left, or south, you get a view almost equal to a section, the line of contour of the surface being presented against the sky and water, and representing a long slope from the hills to near the shore, when it descends abruptly to a flat space, not very broad, before reaching the water.
To the north of Rothesay, again, towards Port Bannatyne, the hills descend much more abruptly, but between their base and the water the little plain is more extended, and affords site for many bathing residences, and at one point it is occupied by a Roman Catholic Chapel.
Advancing up the Clyde, the same beach is seen on both sides. All along, from Gourock southwards, the road is formed upon it. In some places it is a mere shelf, but in others it attains considerable breadth, and it is backed by most picturesque cavern-hollowed cliffs. These may be seen very distinctly in the neighbourhood of Wemyss Bay. On the north side of the Clyde, between Helensburgh and Dumbarton, the same sort of beach may be traced; and there, too, where the soft strata of the old red sand-stone stand out in cliffs, on the upper side of the road, they are hollowed out into water-formed caverns.
As you approach Glasgow, the high grounds on both sides of the river recede far inland, leaving spread out between them a rich alluvial plain, which it needs little imagination to recognise as the ancient bottom of some old sea inlet or inland lake; and it is curious to meet with names and notices carrying out this hypothesis. Thus, three or four miles below Glasgow, and a mile or a mile and a half north from the bank of the river, is a place called Garscadden. In Gaelic, I am informed, gar means a point, and scadden a herring; and Macfarlane, in his History of Renfrew, mentions this place as “ The Herring Yair.” There are also some notices in the statistical account of Renfrew of certain ancient fishings at Renfrew quay. In various parts of the flat grounds lying around that town, deposits containing shells of species not now living in our estuary have been found.
In and around Glasgow there are many indications of “terraces," with which, however, I do not think it needful to trouble you. They are carefully described by Mr. Robert Chambers in his “ Ancient SeaMargins.” In addition to the evidence of the terraces themselves, we have authentic records of the discovery of shells in the clay and sand of which many of them are composed. Thus, at various points in the parishes of Paisley and Renfrew have shells been found, especially at Oakshaw and Bella Houston. They have been found at a considerable depth in some of the brick-fields at Annfield, to the east of Glasgow, by Mr. John Craig, and by the same person in various other places, at 10,