Slike stranica

The same high degree of volcanic activity must have formerly existed between Europe and America, for the traces of it are still visible. And not the traces alone, but a part of the same activity. And doubtless the shallowness of the waters between those continents hints at the same. More accurate explorations, then, will probably reveal multitudes of mountains, thrown up by these submarine forces, but not far enough to emerge and bear the name of islands. Yet many have emerged-those which fringe the shores of Norway, Scotland, and Ireland; the Orkneys, Shetland, and Hebrides islands; the Färöe group, with their blistered surface, their recesses, and volcanic rocks; Iceland, with its hot springs; and Mount Heckla; Jan Mayen, with its frightful craters, and the eastern coast of Greenland; one island, Sabrina, in the midst of the Azore group; which has had three upheavals within two hundred years, in 1638, 1723, and 1811,—all these plainly indicate the presence of tremendous forces, active in the past as well as in the present.

We thus fix the character of the arctic polar lands to be a close drawing together. Europe has, fortunately for itself, the least share in those inhospitable regions; only her pointed northern shores fringe the shores of the polar sea, leaving the great bulk of the great land-mass of the north to the broad shores of Asia and North America, with their neighboring island groups.

This polar world, as we may call it, in contradistinction to the Orient and the Occident, is not separated from more southerly regions by any great physical line of demarkation. The arctic circle is a mere mathematical line 661° N. lat.; it has no geographical character whatever. The true polar world reaches in some places far beyond this mathematical barrier, bringing all its characteristics

with it; while, on the other hand, it withdraws, at a few other places, nearer to the Pole. Were the polar world more broken up than it is by inland seas, and separated from the great land-mass by broad channels, it would be far more isolated in its whole character than it is. It is this immediate contiguity of the polar world with the great land-mass which opens it to whatever civilization it may be able to receive. And there is the same unity in the polar world that there is in the tropical world. The same phenomena which appear in one part of it are repeated in every other part. There are, of course, subordinate modifications found, but everything essential, which is discovered in one part, is discovered in every other part. There is no distinction into "new world" and no "old world;" the new world and the old coincide amid the arctic pole.

The characteristic of the polar world, next to this of unbrokenness, is the simplicity, or what might be called the monotony of its productions and all its features; the uniform reproduction of the same plants and animals, as well as of geological forms. Even Lapland, which is the farthest removed from the Pole of all the arctic regions, manifests, in its rounded and polished granite and gneiss and its deep and sharply-defined cuts, the same uniformity. The syenite found at Lake Imandra displays the same characteristics as that found on the islands in the White Sea, and on the shores of Greenland. The tops of the mountains, instead of being green, are all white with the lichen, commonly known as reindeer moss. And as with the geological formations and the vegetable kingdoms, so with the animal kingdom. Elsewhere are found bears, foxes, reindeer, seals, and walruses; the feathered tribes partake of the general monotony of structure, and man not

less. The range of his development is extremely limited, and his character little different, whether in northern Asia or northern America.

America forms the real West of the great land-mass, the true Occident of the earth, young as yet, but to receive as its gift the entire culture of the East, and to advance by giant steps to a position of independent influence. Already it has far surpassed Asia in industry and civilization. The old world was the preparation for the new. Almost everything which the new world enjoys and values was the gift of the old. Its most ancient monuments of religion, architecture, and art are closely linked to those of the old world. Hieroglyphics have been found among the Peruvians and the Mexicans. In like manner embalming of princes, the engraving of astronomical data upon rocks, were borrowed from the East.

The historic character of America is more striking in respect to newness than the physical features of the water hemisphere. Buffon supposed that the American continent is of more recent formation than the old world, assigning for his opinion that it is more submerged, because smaller in area, than the eastern land-mass; because, also, the plants which demand moisture are predominant over those which depend on a dry climate; and because the forms of homologous animals-the elephant, rhinoceros, crocodile, turtle, apes, and serpents, for instance-do not attain the same size as in Asia and Africa. But waiving this, we use the name New World, only with significance in its connection with history.

With the discovery of America begins a new period in the history of man and of nations in their civil relations. The enlargement of territory occasioned by it was not greater than the enlargement of the bounds of thought.

The old world had been developed earliest, had gone as far as it could go; it had to wait till another great step should be taken before it could go on in its course. The highest progress of the human race, the complete development of its possibilities, was not possible till man should, in his wanderings from east to west, compass the globe, and take possession of it, not for a day, but for all time. The primitive settlements in Mexico, Peru, and Yucatan could not sustain themselves in consequence of their isolation; navigation was in its rudest stages, and it needed to be in its highest before the world should be bound together closely enough to advance in all its parts toward the goal of a perfect civilization. Those primitive colonies perished therefore, as Canaan perished before Israel, and were replaced by others. The reason of this lay in the isolation of the land-masses of the earth. Had America been discovered and made accessible to the old world before the diffusion of the Gospel and the establishment of the Christian Church, it would have been too early, and heathenism might have had its grandest triumph and its loftiest temples in the new world. The way was not open as yet for the high moral development of the race; and the highways of civilization were not made till the most modern times, when all was in readiness for the great advance which we are witnessing now.

The contrast to the great continental hemisphere is found in Australia, a land-mass of no insignificant size, situated at the center, or very nearly at the center of the great oceanic hemisphere, and surrounded by hundreds of groups of islands, generally of quite unimportant magnitude. The name Australia was fitly chosen; it indicates its true relations to the Southern or Austral ocean. As Africa is the true South to the eastern hemisphere, Australia is the

true South to the great continental land-mass of the whole globe. As the earth has two magnetic north poles, and two north poles of cold, one of the former in Siberia, north of Lake Baikal, and east of Cape Taimura, 110° east of Greenwich; the other in the neighborhood of Melville Island, in North America, 102° west longitude from Greenwich, so there are, in a physical sense, two south poles, (we do not refer to the magnetic ones and the poles of cold,) a continental south pole in Africa, a marine or maritime south pole in Australia.

This country, the largest of islands or the smallest of continents as we may choose to designate it, the most remote of all the great divisions from the center of the land hemisphere, has been the last to feel the pulses of civilization. There, therefore, is to-day the most rapid, the most amazing advancement to be witnessed on the earth; it has crowded centuries into decades, and with its shores adorned even now, in its youth, with states and cities, it cannot longer be called a land left behind in the world's advance. It has inherited all that was finished in the knowledge and culture of the continental world; what the people of that world have toiled for years to win, becomes at once the birthright of the Australians. It is only an instance of the truth of Humboldt's remark, that the more full the world is of ideas, the more rapid is its progress—a remark which throws the strongest light upon the connection of geography with history.

The Historical Element in Geographical Science.

While so many a spot in the great continental land-mass was once the home of a high culture, and from being a cradle of arts and sciences has become a deserted waste, the civil and political condition of many people in the re

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