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often mentioned seven islands in the Atlantic; the inhabitants of which preserved a tradition, that there was once an island, much larger than either of the seven, which governed all the rest. Whitehurst believes it to have stretched from Ireland and the Azores, to the continent of America ; and Buffon believed, that all the islands of the submerged continent are the summits of its mountains. In respect to the Fortunate Islands, it may be again observed, that the accounts, carried to Carthage by the discoverers, were so imposing, that such great numbers desired to emigrate thither, that the senate enacted a law, prohibiting any one from landing upon them on pain of death. These islands are not to be confounded with that near Cadiz, called Aphrodisias', planted with gardens, well inhabited, and not now in existence: but two islands, 10,000stadia from the African continent, of which Sebosuso wrote a confused account, and called Hesperides. Sertorius named them the Atļantic Islands; Plutarch, the Fortunate Islands; Juba, Purpuraria ; Ptolemy, Aprositos and Junonia Autolola; and Gosselin“, Fortaventura and Lancerota. They were said to have abounded in every species of fruit, in large quantities of honey, and in a vast multitude of singing birds. Atlantis was believed to have disap
1 Plin. Nat. Hist. iv. c. 22.
3 Plin. vi. c. 36, 7. . * Des Traditions sur les Isles de l'Ocean Atlantiques.-Gosselin, Rech. sur la Géog. des Anciens, t. i. p. 156.– Vid. also Bory de St. Vincent.
5 Ptolemy says there were six. Plutarch and Sebosus number only two. Heeren of Germany believes they were Porto Santo and Madeira.
peared in one night, having been swallowed by the sea during an earthquake'.
Whether this celebrated island may be classed with More's Utopia and Harrington's Oceana, it is, and perhaps ever will be, impossible to determine. But what gives great colour to the probability of its former existence is the remarkable fact of there being in the Atlantic, between the parallels of 18° and 33° north latitude, bushes of a marine plant”, extending at intervals over a space of water, no less than from 55 to 60,000 square leagues : sometimes appearing like inundated meadows; and some of them rising like heaths, furzes, and bushes. When Columbus first beheld them, both he and his crew were struck with astonishment and terror. This phenomenon is called the Sea of Sargasso, or the Grassy Sea. Among the bushes are frequently caught sea hares, the American frog-fish, and slime containing eggs of crabs, and various insects. Where sea-weeds grow, the depth of water is comparatively shallow; in many parts of this Grassy Sea, however, it is deeper, than was ever sounded. But this applies only to parts, and probably where the tufts float. It is not impossible,
· Beatson imagines it probable, that the islands of Ascension, Saxemberg, Gough, Tristan d'Acunha, and St. Helena, are remains of the Atlantis. The intervals between these islands comprise a space of more than 1800 miles in length, and 500 in breadth.
Fuscus Natans.-Scylas says, that the Carthaginians found the sea unnavigable beyond Cerne, placed three degrees south of the Canaries, because sea-weeds impeded their progress. Hanno, when sailing along the western coast of Africa, observed, that a remarkable silence prevailed upon the land during the day; but that in the night were seen a multitude of fires: and sounds were heard as proceeding from a great number of musical instruments.
therefore, but that this green sea may have been once green land. Many writers have supposed, that Columbus, was actuated by a hope of discovering a new continent, by undertaking his adventurous voyage. His object, however, was to discover a direct and nearer passage to the rich kingdoms of Zipangu and Cathay. When land was first discovered, therefore, it was taken for the coast of India, or China.
ANAXAGORAS and Empedocles, Cardan and Spalanzi, were of opinion, that, in common with insects and quadrupeds, trees and flowers had feelings, affections, and passions; upon the principle, that life without sensation 1 is an anomaly. The earth is the parent of all things; and it is the office of vegetable life to transform unconscious matter into living animals. Hence Virgil, in many a beautiful passage, animates vegetables with hope, fear, hatred, and affection. Darwin has pursued the idea in his Loves of the Plants, and in his Temple of Nature. 2 This opinion is sanctioned by the discovery of their
· The plants of the greatest apparent sensibility are the mimosa sensitiva and pudica ; Hedysarum gyrans ; oxalis sensitiva; Smithia sensitiva.
• The seminal vessels of the richly scented nymphæa nelumbo are more evident, and its germ more magnified in the seed, than in any other plant. For this reason it is probably held sacred in Thibet, and many other countries of the East. From some experiments, lately made by Mrs. Ibbetson, it appears, that the root is the laboratory of the plant; that the embryo of the seed is formed in the radicle; but that it does not join the seed, till it enters the seed vessel for that purpose : that the flower-bud is formed in the root;
sexual properties. This important discovery has been almost universally attributed to Linnæus : but we learn from Herodotus', that the Babylonians perfectly understood the sexual properties of plants; and though not adopted by them, sufficient proofs may be drawn from the writings of Aristotle”, Theophrastus?, and Pliny*, to confirm us in the belief, that it was not unknown to some of the Grecian naturalists. While the works of Alpini, Jungius', and Burckhardo, Erasmus?, Millington, Grew,
and the leaf-bud in the bark. And that the canal medullaire (line of life) is on each side the pith; proceeding from the centre to the circumference, preceded by the gastric juice. This physiological exposition evidently exhibits a striking resemblance to animal life.
i Clio. cxiii. On the sexual properties of palm-trees-vid. Kæmpfer's Amænitates Exoticæ. . ? Arist. de Plant. lib. i. c. 2, 6. * Theophrast. Hist. Plant. lib. iii. c. 9.-ii. c. 9. Lib. vi. c. 2.
Pliny says, that plants have a natural instinct for generation : he calls the farina a subtle powder.- Nat. Hist. xiii. c. 7. Alpini, who died in 1617, settled the fact in regard to the generation of plants, by his observations on the palm tree.—Vid. Alpin. de Plantis Egypti, p. 10. Venice, 1592, 4to. And Swan, in his Speculum Mundi, published 1635, speaks familiarly of the male and female palm. The secret was also known to Mexio and Du Verdier. - Vid. Treasurie of Auncient and Moderne Times, book iv. c. 5. p. 217. For a history of this tree, the most interesting subject in vegetable economy, see Abbé Raynal's Hist. of the East and West India Settlements, vol. i. p. 140: and Mylius' Letter to Dr. Watson.— Phil. Trans. vol. xlvii. On the fructification of plants, consult Grāberg's interesting paper, “ Fundamentum Fructificationis," Amænitates Acadæmicæ, vi. art. 116. On the perceptive powers of vegetables, see Percival's observations, in the proceedings of the Literary and Philosophical Society of Manchester, 1784. Dr. Watson's
Chemical Essays, vol. v.: and for observations on the irritability of vegeta· bles, see Philosophical Transact. vol. lxxviii. • Jungii Opuscula botanico-physica, &c. Apud Fagel. et Vaget.
6 Ep. ad G. G. Leibnitzium, 1702. · Erasmus, in an age when science was held in little esteem, and scholastic
Moreland, Bradley, Camerarius, Blair, Geoffry, Vaillant, Ray, and Jussieu, evidently demonstrate, that they believed in its truth, many years before its adoption by Linnæus. If, however, that celebrated naturalist had not the honour of the first discovery, he had yet the merit of reducing the theory into a practical system'.
And here, perhaps, we may be excused, for adducing a few instances in science, in which modern discoveries may be traced to ancient industry and research. The influence of the tides was not entirely unknown to ancient philosophers. Virgil was not ignorant of the sleep of plants, nor of the circulation of their juices; while ancient physicians?, and perhaps Solomon, acknowledged the circulation of blood in animals. The causes of eclipses were known to Thales, Aristotle, Py
pedantry in high honour, conceived from several passages in Herodotus,
contemptuously ridiculed by the elder Scaliger: a man, who, with all his Greek, was ignorant in the midst of a great knowledge of words; and arrogant in defiance of his own lessons of humility.
· The sexual properties of plants have been some time known in China. “ All animate and inanimate Nature,” says Choo-foo-toze, “may be distinguished into masculine and feminine. There is, for instance, female hemp, and male and female bamboo.”
• Plat. in Timæo.
3 Vid. Ecclesiast. ch. xii. Solomon believed, that the earth is eternal ; (i. v. 4.) and that the wind revolved in periodical circuits (ott. vi.).
* Plutarch says, that the common people, in the time of Nicias, knew well how to account for an eclipse of the sun ; but the cause of an eclipse of the moon was beyond their comprehension.--In vit. Nicias.