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the element of fire, the share to which it is entitled. One word may suffice for the present ; the element of fire, I must hold to be incapable of throwing up such prodigious mountains, as we have upon the face of the globe : For, let us figure to ourselves the operation which could raise the Alps. * I do not speak here of their weight; I admit, for argument sake, a force sufficient to surmount it: But, does that same force still rest with them, to keep them in suspension ? After the strong exertion of the elastic fuid, the earth being thrown up, would occasion many fissures ; through these fissures, the elastic Auid would escape, thus consequently, the raising force would be destroyed; nothing but the specific weight would remain, and the mountains not having frames made for their reception, would inevitably fall into their primitive state. I, at least, cannot see the matter in any other light : moreover, the formation of Il Monte Nuovo, which is always quoted as an instance, was gradual, and was formed merely of accumulations round its cone; the same has happened, it must be confessed also, in the formation of many islands, of which we have an account; they have evidently been gradual. But this has not been the case with granite, with primordial mountains or islands; neither can it be admitted even to the secondary or calcareous mountains; more of this, however, in its proper place : we shall here sin ply adjudge them, and you must not be displeased with me for my tenacity to the parent to whom they belong—to the ocean.

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In the full belief of this opinion, you will conclude, it would be consistent in me to adhere to the doctrine, that the elevations of the earth are greatest at the Equator, especially as the centrifugal force during a fluid conformation of the mountains, might be supposed to have had a most unequivocal energy: but, as the desire of truth has already made me deviate from established and very favourite principles, I shall refrain from drawing, even to my own assistance, any thing that I shall not conceive to be well supported. Mountains are not more elevated at the Equator, than they are on other parts of the globe. The Andes commence many degrees to the southward of the Equator; for, running as it were from it, through Peru, Chili, and Magellan, they stop at the 55th degree of south latitude; whereas, on the isthmus of Panaina, which is in the neighbourhood of the Line, the mountains are comparatively very low. The

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highest mountains of Asia are greatly beyond the tropics. They commence in Africa, towards the 30th degree of north latitude, and traverse all Africa and Asia, between the 38th and 40th degrees. The Pics of Spitzbergen, of New Zealand, of the Alps, the Pyrenees, &c. and almost all of which are eternally covered with snow, are distant from the Equator. How then can I support; or rather, how would it be applicable to my present reasoning, to avail myself of the doctrine of the centrifugal force ? But, though the equatorial elevations are not greater than those of others, which approach even to the neighbourhood of the Poles, it yet is in general to be observed, that the greatest eminences of this globe, are situated from north to south ; * and it is by this disposition, that almost all the points and terminations of continents are north and south : at least, thus, they are said to be in the southern hemisphere, and in those parts, are the greatest inequalities, perhaps, we are acquainted with.

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LETTER XXXIII.

IT is recorded, that the Zuiderzee, whence the vessels of Holland enter the ocean, was in the time of William II. King of the Romans and Count of Holland, covered with the most luxuriant pasturage. Among various other proprietors, Hotman Galama, a gentleman of Friezland, had some estates there : walking out one morning, he perceived a herring in a ditch, which had no apparent communication with the

He long puzzled himself to discover how it could have got there. At length it struck him, that his land inust have been undermined by the sea ; terrified at the idea, but, without saying a word of his suspicion, he disposed of his estates as speedily as possible, and purchased others at a considerable distance. The ineasure was to him, both a wise and a lucky one : his lands, in a short time afterwards, were irremediably overwhelmed by the ocean, and vessels in a few months cast anchor, where heretofore there had been flocks of sheep.

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Thus high and low, elevated, or depressed, each corner of the earth affords matter for contemplation; but no theatre is more instructive than the Alps : while you traverse the craggy sides of those tremendous mountains, which rise in dreadful majesty the further you ascend, whose venerable brows are charged with an eternal ice, but whose rugged recesses display scarcely any thing but devastation and frigid penury; how chill and tardy runs the blood; how eagerly we search-why such enormities were huddled together. “Les peuples,” says Mr. Bourrit, “qui avoisinoient ces masses collossales, repoussès par leurs aspects terribles & menaçans, ne les contemploient qu'avec effroi, ne les regardoient que comme un mal dans la nature. Les orages qui s'y forment; les chûtes de rochers, celles des neiges qui renversent, bouleversent & détruisent tout sur leur passage ; les débordemens des torrens des riviéres étoient regardés comme les agens d'un esprit malfaisant, ou d'un Dieu en courroux.” But from these terrific scenes, cast your eyes a little further, and how smiling and rich the prospect bursts upon your view; how exquisite the contrast. In the whole circle of our hemisphere, there is not, perhaps, à combination more wonderful, nor more instructive. In what scene, indepen

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