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was preparing his dinner. - This dinner consisted of a large crow, which he was plucking by the dim light of the embers of his furnace. On the same embers his pot was boiling; and he every now and then dipped his crow into it, that he might soften and pluck his morsel with the greater ease. What a fine subject for the pencil of Teniers !!
• The Mineralogical Report of the Department of the Channel' presents us with little deserving of particular notice. Both the lead and quicksilver mines have been repeatedly abandoned ; and a deficiency of coal renders the propriety of their resumption still problematical. The preparation of salt from sea-sand, which, we understand, is practised on a small scale in a corner of Dumfriesshire, is, in this department, conducted on a more extensive and beneficial plan.
M. Duhamel's prize memoir on Coal,' even in the form of an abstract, presents us with several important results, but which have by no means the attraction of novelty to British mineralogists.
M. Girard enters into a long, learned, and plausible disquisition on the present, past, and future State of the Valley of Somme.' His reasonings rest on the supposition that France and England were once joined by an isthmus ; that the tides rose to a much greater height on the coasts of Picardy and the Boulonais than they do at present; and that the turbaries of the valley of Somme were gradually deposited, and formed in a large lake, at a period when the river had not found its present issue.
• General Observations on the Nature of the Carpathian Mountains in Upper Hungary, &c. By Citizen Lefebvre, Member of the Board of Mines. '. It appears from this rapid survey, that the first, or most elevated chain of these mountains, consists of granite, which is frequently covered with calcareous masses ; that the second chain is chiefly formed of a compound primitive rock, consisting of alternate bands of quartz and mica, though mountains strictly granitical also occur; and that the third chain is mostly composed of a species of porphyry or jasper, interspersed with minute crystals of feldspar and mica. In this last chain are situated the celebrated mines of Kremnitz, Schemnitz, &c. which give employment to twenty thousand individuals, and produce gold, silver, lead, and copper. At Schemnitz, which lies nearest the centre of these extensive workings, the Empress Maria Theresa established a mineralogical academy, which vies with that of Freyberg, and to which individuals from all countries resort to be instructed in the arts of mining and metallurgy. In the porphyry mountains are likewise found calcareous masses and thermal waters. But the red
schorl, so much coveted by the mineralogist, occurs in a mountain of the second chain.
· The mountain which contained this red schorl appeared to me remarkable on account of its structure ; the circumjacent hills being all composed of gneiss, or primitive slaty rock, whereas it differs from them in the arrangement of its constituent parts. The quartz and the mica, in place of being depofited in alternate and nearly parallel layers, have formed identical maffes. It is thus that the quartz occurs in large portions, imbedded in very thick layers of flexible mica, that is, greasy to the touch like talc. Sometimes nothing but these layers of mica are to be seen, and disposed either in a horizontal, or almost perpendicular direction, or even winding, and presenting no uniformity of position.
• I have remarked with astonishment, blocks of granite on the surface of this mountain ; but, as I have not seca it in a continuous mass, I am inclined to believe that these blocks are foreign to the mountain, and that they have been conveyed to it from the higher chain by the waters.
• This observation, however, applies not to the quartz, which obviously enters into the composition of the mountain, and is of contemporaneous formation with the layers of mica. The fracture of these quartzy masses frequently reveals thin layers of mica, which were apparent on the outside, and which have been enveloped in the confused cryitallization of the quartz.
Though our researches and observations about this mountain occupied two entire days, we could discover the red schorl only in one spot, at the base. We first observed it in the quartz, running along in a very narrow band, and uniformly directed from north-east to south-west, as if it had been a metallic vein. The quartz in which it occurred presented, on inspection, no character different from those of the smaller maffes which compose the mountain. After we had dug two or three fathoms in a straight line, the quartz disappeared. On meeting with the micaceous layers, we feared that we had loft the schorl, but after an attentive search we found it again, observing the fame direction which it had in the quartz, and for the moft part presenting even larger prismatic fasciculi. We remarked, at considerable intervals, some small blocks of quartz incased in the layers of mica, and containing also schorl in their substance, though not a trace of it was discernible on their surface, &c. In the course of a few fathoms the schorl vein completely vanished, and could not be retraced. '
The continuation of this Journal, which has now reached us, will claim our attention in some future article. In the mean while, we shall be happy if we can be at all instrumental in giving its contents greater publicity, and in thus contributing, even indirectly, to excite a spirit of research into the subterraneous resources of our own country.
ART. VII. The History of the Orkney Islands : In which is com
prehended an Account of their present as well as their ancient State; together with the Advantages they possess for several Branches of Industry, and the Means by which they may be improved. Illustrated with an accurate and extensive Map of the whole Islands, and with Plates of some of the most interesting Objects they contain. By the Reverend George Barry, D. D. Minister of Shapinshay. 4to. pp. 509. Constable & Co. Edinburgh. Longman & Co. London. 1805.
W E consider this plain and unpretending volume as an acces
sion of no inconsiderable value to the topography and statistics of the British Islands. It has been compiled with great diligence and labour, and contains a mass of curious information relative to a very interesting and neglected part of the empire. It is amazing, indeed, how little is known by their fellow-subjects of England, of those remote and disconnected fragments of our territory and population, and how much better acquainted we are, in general, with the Sandwich and Philippine islands, than with those of Shetland or Orkney. To most of our readers, therefore, the account contained in this volume should have all the recommendation of novelty, and should interest them much in the same way with the description of a newly discovered country. In spite of this attraction, however, we are afraid there is two much science and sobriety in Dr Barry's manner of writing, to let his work be very popular with the general reader. The naturalist and the antiquary will probably relish it better : and, at all events, as it is the first tolerable account that has yet been laid before the public of these interesting regions, we think no apology necessary for presenting our readers with a pretty full account of it.
The first book presents us with a view of the islands, considered as a whole, combined with a geographical description of each.'
· These islands are situated in the Northern Ocean, between Caithness and Shetland, from the former of which they are distant only about four, and from the latter nearly twenty leagues. The latitude of Kirkwall, the centre, is fifty-nine degrees and nine minutes north, and the longitude two degrees and thirty minutes west, from the meridian of Greenwich.' Viewed as a whole, these islands are high and precipitous towards the west, but slope, and sink into level plains, towards the east, especially those which are distinguished by the name of the North Isles. We think the fact may be accounted for by the position of the strata, which generally rise towards the west or F4
south-west, and dip, or are inclined, towards the east or northeast. The late Dr Walker, we believe, was the first who observed that islands and continents are generally high on the west, but form slopes or plains towards the east. This seems to prove a general conformity in the position of the mineral strata, though the cause of this conformity is unknown to us.
From the similarity of the points of Berey in Waas, and Dunnet in Caithness, and the general correspondence of the rocks and soils on the opposite sides of the Pentland Frith, our author concludes that the Orkneys were probably joined, at some remote period, to the Mainland of Scotland ; and also, that the islands themselves had been formerly united into one unbroken continent.
We admit that there are very strong reasons for adopting this conclusion ; but we see no reason to have recourse, with our author (p. 8.), to the action of subterraneous fire, to account for the dismemberment of the Orkney Islands. In several parts of Caithness, where the strata are intersected by veins of soft matter, the sea, by working them out, has made' deep inlets into the land, and sometimes rushes, with terrible impetuosity, by subterraneous passages, from one side of a promontory to another. We are therefore inclined to think, that the Pentland Frith, and the sounds which separate the islands, were originally occupied by soft substances, which the force of the water has washed away. In proof of this we may observe, that all the remaining rocks on each side are extremely hard, and well calculated to resist its attacks. The Old Man of Hoy, a stupendous pyramidal rock, situated a few hundred yards to the west of that district of Waas, though not noticed by our author, forms an illustration of this doctrine. It, is evidently composed of the same sandstone with the neighbouring rocks; and as these rise towards the west, this pyramid is seen from a great distance to overlook the neighbouring hills, and is among the highest pinnacles in Orkney. It has evidently been joined to the neighbouring rocks by softer strata, which the sea has gradually corroded and worn away
The soil in Orkney, though shallow, is generally fertile, and our author is much at a loss (p. 10.) to account for this fact. We observed, that the most prevailing rock is a species of calcareous sandstone flag, of a blue, or bluish grey, colour. The soil formed by the decomposition of this stone contains a portion of carbonate of lime, which renders it fertile.
The climate, or the whole, is temperate, the range of the thermometer being from 25° to 75°, and that of the barometer within three inches. The medium temperature of springs is 45°. The most prevailing wind is the south-West; the most disagreeable and
unhealthy the south-east. Snow is rare, and never lies long : the winter is more distinguished by heavy rains. For about two weeks, and sometimes more, about the middle of June, the wind almost invariably blows from the north, accompanied with snow and hail showers, of such violence as to check vegetation, and drive the domestic animals to seek shelter. The author, with much probability, (p. 13.) imputes this seemingly unnatural cold to the melting of the ice in the northern ocean, and consequent evaporation. About 40 years ago, the north wind brought what the people called black snow, which struck them with terror and astonishment, until it was discovered that the black snow was ashes thrown out by an eruption of Hecla in Iceland. Another peculiarity is, that thunder and lightning seldom occur, even during the warmest weather, in summer; but are frequent during tempestuous weather, with rain, hail and snow, in winter.
• The greatest rapidity of the spring tides, even in those channels where they run quickest, is nine miles in an hour; and the neap-tides have only about a fourth part of that velocity.' p. 15.
We do not pretend to call in question the accuracy of this calculation ; but we have frequently seen vessels enter the Pentland Frith, with a strong breeze a-stern; and, upon meeting the tide, we have seen them stopped, and afterwards carried back, with all their sails set, by the violence of the current.
The second chapter contains a geographical description of the islands. They were first mentioned by Pomponius Mela; and ancient authors differ exceedingly with regard to their number and extent. The late Mr Mackenzie, from actual survey, ascertained their number to be no fewer than sixty-seven, of which only twenty-nine are inhabited. The remaining thirty-eight, called Holms, are of small size, and have always been appropriated to pasturage. Besides all these, there are several which are overflowed at high water, have scarcely any soil, and are called Skerries, which indicates sharp, ragged rocks.
Most of the names of these islands terminate in a, ay, or ey, which our author thinks, in the Gothic language, * denoted an island of large extent; while holm implied one that was smaller, and only fit for pasturage. We rather think that Holm means hollow or flat land.
The islands have been immemorially divided into north and south isles, from their position in respect of the Mainland, or more probably of Kirkwall, which, for many ages, has been considered as their capital.
Che sonorous name of Pomona affixed to the largest island, or Mainland, as it is called, has exercised the ingenuity of etymologists. Our author (p. 20.) thinks it is compounded of two
* Vid. Ihre, Gloss. Suigoth. I. 894.