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of Landes, they are threatening to advance with
inevitable destruction. One of these villages, that of
Mimisan, has struggled against them for twenty years,
and a down more than sixty feet high is perceptibly
approaching it.
In 1802 the pools overflowed five fine farms in the
village of St. Julien.(1) They have long since covered
an ancient Roman road leading from Bourdeaux to
Bayonne, and which could be seen forty years ago
when the waters were low.(2) The Adour, which was
known to have formerly passed Old Boucaut, and
flowed into the sea at Cape Breton, is now turned from
it more than a thousand fathoms.
The late M. Bremontiér, inspector of bridges and
roads, who made great researches on downs, calculated
their progress at sixty feet annually, and in some
places at seventy-two. According to his calculations,
they will reach Bourdeax in two thousand years; and
from their present size, rather more than four thousand
years must have elapsed since their accumulation
commenced. (3) The overwhelming of the cultivated
lands of Egypt by the steril sands of Libya, which the
west wind casts on them, is a phenomenon similar to
that of the downs. These sands have buried a number
of cities and villages, whose ruins may still be seen;
and that since the conquest of the country by the
Mahometans, since the tops of mosques and the
pinnacles of minarets are to be seen projecting through
the sand.(4) Advancing so rapidly, they would
doubtlessly have

(1) Memoirs of M. Bremontier of the fixing of Downs.
(2) Tassin loc. Cit.
(3) See Bremontier's Memoir.
(4) Denon — Voyage en Egypte



filled the narrow defiles of the valley if so many ages
had elapsed since they began to be cast there. (1)
There would be nothing left between the Libyan chain
and the Nile. It is then a chronometer, the measure of
which it would be as easy as interesting to obtain.


The turf bogs, so generally produced in the north of
Europe by the accumulation of the remains of sphagna
and other aquatic mosses, also give us a measure of
time. They increase in proportion determined with
regard to each place; they thus envolope the small
mounds of earth on which they are formed. Many of
these mounds have been covered within the memory of
man. In other places the turf-bog descends along the
valleys; it advances like the glaciers, but the glaciers
melt at the base, whilst the turf-bog is impeded by
nothing. By sounding it down to the solid soil, we
judge of its antiquity; and we find with turf-bogs as
with downs, that they cannot have commenced at an
indefinite and very remote epoch. It is the same with
slips, which are made with vast rapidity at the base of
steep rocks, and which are still very far from having
covered them. But, as no precise measurements have
yet been applied to these two operations, we shall not
expatiate on them farther.(2)

(1) We may here refer to all travellers who have traversed
the western parts of Egypt.
(2) These phenomena are well discussed in the Letters of M. Deluc to
the Queen of England, where he treats of the turf



We see that wherever nature addresses us, she
always uses the same language. — every where informs
us that the present state of things has not commenced
at a very remote period; and, what is not a little
singular, we hear every where echoes of the voice of
nature, whether we consult the authentic traditions of
nations, or examine their moral and political
condition, and the intellectual development which they
had reached at the moment whence their authentic
remains take date.


Although, at the first glance, the traditions of some
ancient nations, who extend their origin for so many
thousands of years, may seem to contradict. very
powerfully the newness of the present world, yet, when
we examine these traditions more carefully, we are not
long in concluding that they are not founded in
history; on the contrary, we are soon convinced that
the real history, and all that it has

mosses of Westphalia; and in his Letters to Lametherie,
inserted in the Journal de Physique of 1791, &c. as well as
those addressed by him to M. Blumenbach, 1798. We may add
the interesting details given in his Geologic Voyage, vol. i., on
the isles of the west coast of the duchy of Sleswic, and the
manner of their union, either with themselves or with the
continent, by alluvial deposites and turf bogs; as well as
respecting the irruptions which have from time to time
destroyed or separated some of their parts.
As to the slips, Mr. Jameson, in a note to his English
translation of this Discourse, cites a remarkable instance taken
from the steep rocks near Edinburgh, called Salisbury Crags.
Although of a trifling height, the abrupt and vertical face is not
yet concealed by the mass of debris accumulated at their feet,
and which yet annually increases.



transmitted to us of positive proofs of the early
establishment of nations, confirms what the natural re
cords had declared.
The chronology of none of the nations of the west
can be traced unbroken farther back than three
thousand years. None of them can produce before this
epoch, nor even for two or three centuries afterwards,
a succession of events united by a semblance of truth.
The north of Europe has no history previous to its
conversion to Christianity; the history of Spain, of
Gaul, of England, has no earlier date than the conquest
by the Romans; that of northern Italy, previously to
the foundation of Rome, is now almost unknown. The
Greeks confess that they did not know the art of
writing until they were taught by the Phoenicians,
about thirty-three or thirty-four centuries ago. For a
long period subsequently, their history is full of
fables; and they are unable to go farther back than
three centuries earlier, for the first traces of their
union as a body. We have, in the history of western
Asia, but a few contradictory extracts, which only
reach, with very slight connexion, to twenty~five
centuries back;(1) and, admitting the few historical
details which refer to periods more remote, we can
scarcely exceed the date of forty centuries. (2)
Herodotus, the earliest profane writer whose works
are left to us, lived one thousand three hundred years
ago. (3) The earliest historians before

(1) To Cyrus, about 650 years before Chiist.
(2) To Nisus, about 2348 years before Christ, according to Ctesias and
those who have followed him; but only to 1250, according to Volney, who
follow Herodotus.
(3) Herodotus lived B. C. 440.



him, whom he consulted, were only one hundred years
We may judge how far they are to be depended on,
by their extravagant tales, which are handed down to
us in the extracts from Aristæus of Proconnesus, and
Before them there were only poets; and the most
ancient of those whose works have been preserved,
Homer, the master and perpetual model of all the west,
has only preceded our own limes by two thousand
seven hundred, or two thousand eight hundred years.
When these early historians mention ancient events,
either of their own nation or of those near them, they
only cite oral traditions, and not public records.
It was long after this, that pretended extracts from
Egyptian, Phoenician, and Babylonian annals were
given. Berosus only wrote during the reign of Seleucus
Nicator, Hieronymus during that of Antiochus Soter,
and Manetho under the government of Ptolemy
Philadelphus. These three were only three centuries
earlier than the coming of Jesus Christ.
Sanchoniatho may be a real or fictitious author; but
nothing was known of him until Philo of BybIos
published a translation of his work in the second
century after Jesus Christ; and when it was made
known, there was only discovered, as in all other
authors of his kind, a childish theogony, or
metaphysics, so blended with allegories, as not to be

(1) Cadmus, Pherecydes, Aristæus of Proconnesus,
Acuitlaus, Hecateus of Miletus, Charon of Lampsacus, &c. —
Vide Vossius de Hist. Græc. lib. i. and particularly his fourth



Only one people, the Jews, have preserved prose
records of an earlier date than the time of Cyrus.
That part of the Old Testament called the
Pentateuch exists, in its original state, at least since
the dispersion of the ten tribes under Jeroboam; for the
Samaritans had it as well as the Jews; and its antiquity
may be confidently reckoned at more than two
thousand eight hundred years.
There is no reason to doubt but that the book of
Genesis was composed by Moses himself, which would
give it a still farther antiquity of five hundred years,
namely, thirty-three centuries: and it is sufficient to
read it to perceive that it was composed partly of
fragments of former works. There is, however, no
doubt of its being the most ancient writing which the
world is in possession of.
But this work, and all those written subsequently,
however unaquainted their authors were with Moses
and his people, describe the nations of the banks of the
Mediterranean as newly formed; they mention them as
half savages some centuries after; moreover, they all
allude to a universal catastrophe, of an irruption of the
waters, which occasioned an almost entire regeneration
of the human race; and they do not go very remotely
into antiquity to decide the epoch of this event.
The texts of the Pentateuch, which place this
catastrophe the farthest back, do not go more remotely
than twenty centuries before Moses, nor consequently
more than five thousand four hundred years before our
time. (1)
The poetical traditions of the Greeks, the source

(1) The Septuagint, 5345 years: the Samaritan text, 4869:
the Hebrew text, 4174.



of all our profane history which refers to these early
periods, have nothing which contradicts the Jewish
records; on the contrary, they agree very harmoniously
as to the epoch which they assign to the Egyptian and
Phoenician colonies, which gave to Greece the first
germs of civilization: we see, besides, that about the
same period at which the Israelitish tribes departed
from Egypt to carry into Palestine the sublime doctrine
of the unity of God, other colonies left the same
country, to carry into Greece a more gross religion, at
least with respect to exterior form, whatever might be
the secrets which it reserved for the initiated; and
others again came from Phoenicia, and taught the
Greeks the art of writing, and all that relates to
navigation and commerce. (1)
Certainly we have not had a continuous and
connected history since that time, as we find, very
long after these founders of colonies, a multitude of
my thological events and adventures, in which gods
and heroes are introduced; and these chieftains are
connected with real history by genealogies evidently
fictitious;(2) but what is still more certain is, that

(1) We know that chronologists differ many years
concerning each of these events; but these migrations do not
the less form remarkable events, and give a peculiar character
to the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries before Jesus Christ.
In the following calculation of Usserius, Cecrops came from
Egypt to Athens about 1556 before Christ; Deucalion settled
on Parnassus about 1548; Cadmus arrived from Phœnicia at
Thebes about 1493; Danaus arrived at Argos about 1485;
Dardanus was established on the Hellespont about 1449. All
these founders of nations must have been nearly contemporary
with Moses, whose migration occurred in 1491. See, moreover,
on the synchronysm of Moses, Danaus, and Cadmus, Diod. lib.
xi. and Photius, page 1152.
(2) Every body knows the genealogies of Apollodorus and
the arguments on which Clavier endeavoured to establish a kind



all which preceded their arrival could only have been
preserved in very confused traditions, and could have
been only supplied by unfounded inventions, similar to
those of the monks of the middle age concerning the
origin of the nations of Europe.
Thus, not only we should not be astonished that,
even in ancient times, there should have existed many
doubts and contradictions on the epochs of Cecrops,
Deucalion, Cadmus, and Danaus; not only would it be
childish to attach the least importance to any one
opinion concerning the precise dates of Inachus(l) or
Ogyges;(2) but, if anything could surprise us, it is that
these personages have not been made from remote
antiquity. There must have been some weight in the
received traditions which the inventors of fables could
not do away with. One of the dates assigned to the
deluge of Ogyges agrees so accurately with one that
had been mentioned as the period of the deluge of
Noah, that it is almost im possible but that it must
have been derived from some source by which this
latter deluge must have been intended. (3)

of primitive history of Greece; but when we read of the
genealogies of the Arabians and Tartars, and all that the
monkish chronologists have invented for the different European
monarchs, and some in particular, — we easily comprehend
that the Greek writers must have done for the early time of
their nation what has been done at all other epochs, when
criticism had not given its lights to history.
(1) 1856 or 1823 before Christ, and other dates, have been
fixed; but always about 350 years before the principal
Phœnician or Egyptian colonies.
(2) The common date of Ogyges, according to Acusilaus and
Eusebius, is 1796 years before Christ, consequently many
years after Inachus.
(3) Yarro placed the deluge of Ogyges, which he calls the



As to Deucalion, whether we consider him as a real or feigned
personage, however lightly we credit the manner of his deluge,
as described in the Greek poems, and the multifarious details
with which it became successively enriched, it is plain that it is
only a tradition of the great cataclysm, altered and placed by the
Hellenians at the epoch in which they also placed Deucalion,
because he was considered as the founder of their nation; and his
history was confounded with that of all the chieftains of the
renewed nations.(1)

deluge, 400 years before Inachus —(à priore cataclismo quem
Ogygium dicunt, ad Inachi regnum)
— and consequently 1600
years before the first Olympiad, which would place it at 2376
years be fore Christ; and thc deluge of Noah, according to the
Hebrew text, is 2349, only twenty-seven years difference. This
testimony of Yarro is substantiated by Censorinus de Die
Natali, cap. xxi. In fact, Censorinus wrote only 238 years after
Christ; and it appears from Julius Africanus, ap. Euseb. præp.
cv. that Aucusilaiis, the first author who placed the deluge in
the time of Ogyges, made this prince contemporary of
Phoronæus, which would have brought him very near to the
first Olympiad. Julius Africanus only makes an interval of
1020 years between the two epochs; and Censorinus has a
passage confirming this opinion. But some read, in the passage
of Varro above cited from Censorinus, Ærogitiuminstead of
Ogygium.But this would only be an Erogitian cataclysm, of
which who ever heard!
(1) Homer and Hesiod knew nothing of the deluge of
Deucalion, nor that of Ogyges.
The first author (whose works are extant,) who alludes to it,
is Pindar, (Od. Olymp. ix.) He mentions Deucalion as arriving
on Parnassus, and establishing himself in the city of Protogerna
(first birth or production,) and recreating a population with
stones; in a word, he recounts, only applying it to a single
nation, the fable afterwards generalized by Ovid, and applied
to the whole of mankind.
The historians who followed Pindar (Herodotus,
Thucydides, and Xenophon,) do not mention any deluge, either
in the time of Ogyges, or in that of Deucalion, although they
speak of this latter as one of the first kings of the Hellenians.
Plato, in his 'Timæus,' says but a few words about the



Every Greek colony which had preserved any
isolated traditions, began then with their own
particular deluge, because each of them had some

deluge, as well as of Deucalion and Pyrrha, as a commencement
of the account of the great catastrophe, which, according to the
priests of Sais, destroyed the Atalantis; but in this brief
mention, he speaks of the deluge in the singular number, as if it
was one only; and even expressly says, a little farther on, that
the Greeks knew but of one. He places the name of Deucalion
immediately after that of Phoronæus, the first man, without
even adverting to Ogyges; thus, to the extent of his knowledge,
it was a general event, a completely universal deluge, and the
only one that occurred. He looked upon it as identical with that
of Ogyges. Aristotle (Meteor. i. 14,) seems to have been the
first who considered this deluge as only a partial inundation,
which he placed near Dodona and the river Achelous, but this
was the Achelous and Dodona of Thessaly.
Apollodorus (Bibl. i. §7,) gives to the deluge of Deucalion all
its magnitude and mythological character: it happened at the
epoch of the interval between the age of brass and the iron age.
Deucalion is made the son of the Titan Prometheus, the
fabricator of man: he recreates the human race with stones; and
yet Atlas, his uncle, Phoroneus, who lived before him, and
many other antecedent personages, leave large posterities.
The nearer we come down to more recent authors, the more
facts and details do we meet with coinciding with the Mosaic
account of the deluge. Thus Apollodorus gives Deucalion a
chest as his means of safety; Plutarch mentions the pigeons by
which he endeavoured to ascertain the abatement ot the waters;
and Lucian alludes to the animals of every species which he had
embarked with him, &c.
As to the coincidences of traditions and hypotheses, by which
it has recently been sought to prove that the rupture of the
Thracian Bosphorus was the cause of the deluge of Deucalion,
and even of the opening of the Pillars of Hercules, by causing
the Euxine sea to discharge its waters into the Archipelago,
which were, prior to this event, much higher and more extended
than they have since been, it is needless to occupy ourselves in
detailing; since it has been ascertained by the observations of
M. Oilvier, that if the Black sea had been as high as is
supposed there would have been many channels for its waters,
by hills and plains not so high as the present shores of the
Bosphorus; and by those of M. le Comte Andreossy, that had
it fallen any day by this new

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