Original Correspondence

James Boswell, Juvenis, Z., Thomas Leland
1830 The Dublin Literary Gazette  
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more » ... ntent at http://about.jstor.org/participate--jstor/individuals/early-journal--content. JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not--for--profit organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. 220 DUBLIN LITERARY GAZETTE. one great catastrophe, which changed the surface of the earth, and almost annihilated the human race, geology teaches us, that, of the different revolutions which have agitated our globe, the last corresponds, evidently, with the epoch which we assign to the deluge. We will tell you, said he, how, by means of considerations purely geological, we can obtain, with a degree of precision, the date of this great event. There are certain formations which must have been commenced immediately after the last catastrophe, and which, from that moment, have been continued to our days with marked regularity. Such are the deposits which we observe at the mouths of rivers, the detritus which lies at the foot of mountains, and is formed of the debris which falls from the summit. These deposits increase every year, by a quantity which observation can make known to us. Consequently, nothing is more easy than to calculate the time which would have been required to produce the accumulation which we see at this day. This calculationi has been made for the detritus of mountains; and we have found it to be, in every instance, from 5 to 6000 years. It has been made for the deposits of rivers, and has given the same numnber of years. In fine, whatever natural phenomenon has been interrogated, .we have always received a confirmation of the exactitude of the traditions. These traditions, themselves, treasured in the recollection of men, present the most astonishing conformity. The Hebrew text of Genesis places the deluge in the year 2849, before Christ. The Indians make the fourth age of the world-the age in which we live-to commence in 3012. The Chinese date it about 2384. Confucius indeed represents the first king, Yao, as being occupied in draining off the waters of the ocean, which were elevated to the tops of the mountains, and in repairing the injuries which they had caused. It is in India, however, according to all appearances, that we must search for the origin of the sciences. It was in this country, indeed, that man first established himself after his escape from the last cataclysm. The highest mountains of the world, the chains of Himalaya and Thibet, served for their asylum; and the base of the same mountains presented to them the first field for cultivation. Babylonia could then offer nothing but marshes, and Egypt was yet under the water. All the low country, indeed, as the priests told Herodotus, is a present from the Nile. This river every year deposits a new bed of mud. By counting the number of superincumbent beds, which are easilydistinguished from each other, we can learn how much the soil rises during a given time; and thence, by a simple calculation, we arrive at the fact, that 2000 years before Christ, Lower Egypt did not exist. The priority of the Indians is proved also by a tradition, to which no one seems to have paid attention. We find, indeed, from the extracts which are preserved out of the writings of Manetho, that in the reign of Amenoplhis, king of the 16th dynasty, a colony from the Indus established itself in Ethiopia. But Diodorus Siculus, and all those who have written upon the religion of Egypt, trace it from Ethiopia or Higher Nubia. Thebes itself was but an island,--but a colony of Meroe, the sacerdotal city of the Ethiopians. This, then, civilization would advance from India to