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gland, but more especially so in that extensive tract of ground called Hat, field Chace, and the adjoining level, near Doncaster. To examine the different theories advanced on this head, would be inconsistent with my present purposes, and exceed the space allotted for speculations of this kind in a miscellany like yours, whose province is to instruct as well as to amuse a numerous and diversified class of profound and superficial readers; I shall therefore confine myself to such points as have come within my own immediate observation.

The topographical history of any nation or district is at all times interesting to a native, and I presume that information relative to a spot so adjacent to a great majority of your readers, will not prove unacceptable.

The distriet called Hatfield Chace, with a portion of the adjoining manors of Thorne, Hatfield, Wroot, Epworth, Crowl, Haxey, Finningley, Misson, &c. form an uniform flat, with scarcely a single hill or wood to diversisy the prospect; and in some directions nothing but the imbecility of vision bounds the view. This extensive district was rendered a complete level through the effects of a deluge which prevailed in those parts by an bverflow of the neighbouring river. It was at one time arable, pasture, and wood land, as evidently appears on clearing away the thin coat of peatearth, which in some places is very superficial. Clear marks of the plough or some such instrument yet remain, and entire biedges are also found unruffled by the slow and gradual approach of periodical floods from the adjacent rivers. Trees likewise are almost every where to be found, more or less deeply imbedded, whose sable trunks are the only portion which the ravages of destructive time have left entire. The whole level also was at some distant period diversified by hill and dale; for in the middle of this vast portion of boggy earth the summits.of former hills rear their lonely heads, scarcely overtopping the surrounding plain. In some places a fine red sand, in others gravel, may be discovered within six inches of the surface; while in some parts of the level, the depth of peat-earth has not yet been ascertained.

At what period this immense lake was formed is a problem of no easy so{ution. It is evident from the matter accumulated, that its formation was at a very distant period, and the original cause which produced the effect continued to operate for a number of years. We have undoubted historical authority for asserting, that the Isle of Axholme was inaccessible to an army so early as the year 1174: for we are informed, that in the 20th of Henry II. Roger de Mowbray unsheathed the sword in young Henry's cause, retired hither, and rendered tenable an old castle, then in decay, which had from its origin belonged to the family; for reducing which, the Lincolnshire men were under the necessity of transporting themselves by boats. After the battle of Evesham also, in the 10th of Henry III., wherein the barons ex• perienced a defeat, they fled hither as to a place of safety. These occur. renees, in addition to the quantity of matter accumulated, evidently assign to it a very distant date.

Most of the peasantry in the neighbourhood ascribe to the universal de luge the havoc which has been made amongst the trees, &c. in these parts. They foolishly suppose that the velocity of the current has swept from the ad

VOL. II.

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jacent hills, into this adjacent valley, the trees which are buried there. To account for the overflowing of these, as well as other parts similarly situated; is an easy task, but the deposition of that quantity of wood in the place it now occupies has bafiled the wisdom of the most learned geologists. Some of them, amongst whom is the celebrated Dugdale, imagine the humidity the soil to have been the sole cause. But to a general cause a general effect ought to be ascribed, unless we can discover the influence of some other agent, which in part counteracts the operations of the original one. Had this been the sole causé, evident vestiges of its operation would have remained, but such remains are not any where to be found; on the contrary, we have undoubted authority to state, that humidity was not the sole cause,

but that the trees came into this state in the full vigour of vegetable life; for acorns have often been found actually attached to the parent-tree, which could not have been the case, had the tree decayed by parts.

As to the matter of fact, in my opinion little doubt or difficulty presents itself. Abraham de la Pryme appears to be first who ascertained that a forest at one time grew here, (vid. Philosophical Transactions, No. 275, p. 980,) and posterity has borne testimony to the accuracy of his observations: Every one who is read in Roman or early British history, will perceive with what obstinacy the native tribes disputed every inch of ground with their Roman conquerors. Inaccessible hills, impassable morasses, and impenetrable woods, were generally their places of retreat, into which the Romans durst not attempt to follow them. Desultory warfare is a peculiar trait in the character of all uncivilised nations : unity of action and concentration of force are only to be found in the improved state of modern tactics. Xiphiline, on the authority of Dion, (lib. Ixxvi. p. 866,) informs us, that the Emperor Severus, during his reign in this country, complains of the difficulties he met with in his attempts to subdue the natives, and attributes the cause to their system of fighting, and means of defence : their desultory skirmishes proved troublesome to him: it was their practice to take advantage of his advanced guard on foraging parties, cut them off, and immediately retire into their fortresses, which so enraged Severus, that he determined upon

the de struction of their places of retreat as far as was practicable ; to accomplish which, he commenced with fire, and followed with sword and axe; and in the undertaking he had the mortification to find his ranks thinned of 50,000 men in this and the like engagements. To this cause I would attribute the fall of the wood in question. The trees seem to have stood near to where they now lie, as the remaining stump and adjoining tree, where the axe has been employed, exactly correspond. Those trees which owe their fall to the agency of fire are not so easily identified, but otherwise there are many remains, especially of firs and yews. Some affirm, they generally lie in a northwest direction. This observation, however, I have not been able to verify, as I have seen them lie in various positions, but I believe more lie in that direction than any other.

Some have been found of immense magnitude; one on Haxey Car was found 36 yards long, exclusive of cop; it measured 10 inches square at bottom, and 8 at top. One very recently was dug up, which at the bottom measured 5 feet in diameter, and bore a proportional thickaess for 20 yards.

Bodies of men and women also have been found, whose hair and skin were strong as ever, but dyed a tawny colour : the flesh and bones were entirely consumed. Roman coins also have been discovered. These facts, and the near approach of the Roman highway to this spot, all tend to prove that the forest was destroyed by the Romans.

J. W. Sheffield, March 10, 1818.

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MEMOIR OF MR. WILLIAM EMERSON.

to-do-do- vt to foodos DOCTOR Johnson has somewhere made an observation to this effect,“that if we wish to find original characters, we must search for them in the country; for the constant collision of fashionable society wears down the individual characters, like the sands of an hour-glass, into one form.” The truth of this remark is written on the forehead of society, and is demonstrated by every view we take of its varying forms. Indeed, so little development of real character is now to be seen, that the scholar emulates the fop, and the philosopher contends with the fool for the decisive mark of mental littleness. The contemptible vanity of wishing for universal distinc tion makes many men of good talents become mere butterflies in science, fluttering over the surface of every thing, but staying too little time to collect the sweets that are within their reach. Had they lived a century ago, they might perhaps have been called smatterers, for then no one destitute of some tolerable degree of knowledge pretended to the title of a scholar ; but now, since it is become fashionable to appear learned, men entirely destitute of every thing but a few hard terms, and a considerable share of pride and impertinence will pass amongst the crowd as men of profound erudition.

It is true that if some of these flippant beings were to make a proper use of their intellectual powers, and confine their aspirations after praise to those who understand their merits, they might rise to some degree of distinction; but a system like this is not exactly congenial to their feelings, as a person capable of giving them their due meed of praise is not always at hand to offer the delightful incense, without which they would faint in their laborious career. Instead of increasing the effudgence of the luminary of reason in their own breasts, like the owl in the dusk of evening, they take advantage of popular darkness by making a great noise, whilst echo reverberates the sound, with the unintelligible and discordant jargon of which they are delighted, though they tremble through every nerve at the thought of being dragged to the view of mental day. On the contrary, the man of real learning is totally indifferent to the contemptible censure of surrounding ignorance. He pursues the path which philosophy has pointed out to him, and thereby builds his fame-as magnificent as the judicious praises of those who can appreciate his merits, on a basis as lasting as real intellect. The smile of pretended congratulation, the long-drawn visage of hypocritical re

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spect, and the ignorant sneers of the sons of folly, fall alike at his feet, without altering his course, or disturbing the natural serenity of his soul. He is of necessity singular, because his ideas are original, and drawn from the laws of surrounding nature. He is decided in his conduct, for it is founded on well-examined principles. He is superior in his conversation, for prejudice and imbecility have not destroyed the energies of his mind. He makes solid worth the standard of esteem; and bestows his praises on those who have deserved well of him and of society: but he never prostitutes his abilities by raising baseness into credit, or by throwing around the diminutive minds of pretended scholars the lustre of his recommendation. Such was EMERSON! a man who did honour to the human intellect by the vigorous researches into the general laws of nature, and never disgraced the human character by those acts of meanness which little minds alone ean perform

He was born at Hurworth, near Darlington, on the 3rd of June, 1701. His father, DudleyEmerson, was a school-master, and a respectable mathématićian, which circumstance, to a mind like our author's, must have been of considerable importance, as the opportunities which it gave him of improve. ment would call into action the vigour of natural genius, änd give it an impetus which it could not otherwise have received. Hence we find he made such a progress in his mathematical studies, as gave fair reasons to look for that future excellence which distinguished him. He, however, did not contine his attention entirely to the mathematics, but embraced the whole circle of liberal sciences.' A young clergyman, the curate of Hurworth, boarded in his father's house, under whose inspection he attained a very respectable degree of classical erudition, the best authors of Greece and Rome being quite familiar to him. At an early period of life he opened a school, which howe. ver, on account of its tediousness, he relinquished on the death of his father, by which event he became possessed of a small estate about the value of £70 per annum.

He now devoted himself entirely to the cultivation of the mathematical and philosophical sciences. About his thirtieth year he married, and in this he displayed the same judgment as in the other circumstances of his life. Mrs. Emerson was a woman every way calculated for a man of his character-industrious, economical and affectionate. He found in her what every man ought to find in a wife-domestic felicity : and though not blest with à family, which is perhaps the most ardent wish of married people, he was nevertheless contented and happy. He loved his wife, and he loved his home. It is a fact, the truth of which the slightest observation will testify, that there is generally a degree of singularity in the character and behaviour of childless married people, which very nearly allies them to those objects of general scorn, gray-headed bachelors and toothless old-maids. This, with an energy of thought and generosity of feeling which paints every thing in the strongest colours, would naturally givé a firmness of principle too noble for the cringing compliances of meanness, and a promptitude of conduct not often to be equalled. Superficial observers are, however, ready enough to attribute this decision to a stubborn and haughty mind; and biographers 00 often suppose

that

any circumstance of a man's life must of necessity be correctly told, if the narrator pretends to have seen it. They will borrow

an account of a man's disposition from men who are as incapable of investigating and describing it, as Thomson's fly was of determining the dimensions of the dome upon which it rested. The only requisite qualifications to become an authority, are those of having known the man, heard him speak, and seen him move : and when once any account of him has been published, particularly if tending to his disparagement, the evidence of its truth amounts to demonstration with them : they all follow in the same tract, till the innocent object of their aspersion is converted into a hideous monster.

Every one knows that this is a case which often occurs, but it is true to the life in the case of Emerson. He was seldom from home, and therefore morose; he sometimes walked out into the country, and when in need of it, took refreshment at a country public-house, he was social and fond of conversation, therefore a drunkard; he did not attend the regular national place of worship, and of course was an infidel ; he was not rich, but frugal, and of necessity penurious. Such are the conclusions which some men whose hearts are worse than their heads, and their heads not of the most estimable kind, have drawn from the conduct of a man whose thoughts were too sublime for their comprehension, because his motives of action were too profound for their investigation.

The lives of literary men must in general be composed of a history of their literary labours, interspersed with a few anecdotes, illustrative of their chaTacters. To enter into a critical examination of the works of so general a. writer would require volumes, instead of being limited to a single article in a magazine. It will therefore be sufficient to give a list of his publications in the order of their appearance in the world.

1. Doctrine of Fluxions, 8vo. This work contained several new forms of fluents, with their investigations.

2. Projection of the Sphere, orthographic, stereographic, and gnomonic, 8vo.

3. Elements of Trigonometry. To the second edition was affixed, a good collection of tables.

4. Principles of Mechanics, 4to. 5. Treatise on Navigation, '12mo.

6. A Treatise on Arithmetic, 8vo. To this was added, some useful Theorems on the Properties of Numbers.

7. A Treatise on Geometry, &c.

8. A Treatise of Algebra, in two books, 8vo. In the second book is an excellent collection of Philosophical aud Mathematical Problems, solved algebraically.

9. Method of Increments, 4to. This work contained a considerable quantity of original and very curious matter.'

10. Arithmetic of Infinites, and the Conic Sections, with other Curve Lines, 8vo. Perhaps there is not another work in the English language which contains so great a number of the properties of Conic Sections as this.

11. Elements of Optics and Perspective, 8vo. 12. Astronomy.

13. Mechanics, with Centripetal and Centrifugal Force. The Mechanics were written as an introduction to No. 4.

14. Mathematical Principles of Geography, Navigation, and Dialling.

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