Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/359

This page has been validated.



successful issue will leave him, in the words of his late friend Sir Roderick Murchison, "the most glorious of all explorers in African geography," it is not to be forgotten that he has other, and what must be admitted to be nobler, aims. With his never-relinquished idea of establishing a central trading-mart, and purging Africa from its slave-trade, whether Portuguese or Arab, he exhibits the old steadiness in completing a self-set task, the same tenacity of purpose. He is certainly endeavoring to end as he thought good to begin: "It is better to lessen human woe than to discover the sources of the Nile."—Fraser's Magazine.


WHEN Shakespeare represented his philosophical Duke as finding "sermons in stones," and "books in the running brooks," he was but unconsciously exhibiting the prophetic faculty which has been attributed to all true poets. He could hardly have foreseen that his pretty yet fanciful conceit would one day be found to be sober earnest. But so it is; we have here a goodly volume of more than six hundred pages, illustrated by nearly as many excellent woodcuts, discoursing learnedly of nothing save stones and streams, and finding in them sermons of great and, to many readers, novel interest.

It might have been supposed, when Mr. Evans had published his well-known work on "The Coins of the Ancient Britons," that he had gone back as far as possible in the history of our land and nation; but, in archeological as in other sciences, there is in the lowest known depth one lower still remaining to be fathomed; every chamber opened to the light discloses others lying beyond it. From a people who had no literature, or none of which they have left any trace beyond the rude characters inscribed on their rude coins, we are now carried back to tribes and races which possessed neither coins nor letters; people who have left us neither their sepulchres nor their ashes, nor indeed any trace of their existence, save the rude triangular or subtriangular fragments of worked stone which served them for tools or weapons; and even these are usually found buried beneath the wreck and ruin, it may be, of continents or islands which have long since been worn and wasted away.

The publication of this work is remarkable as an evidence of the quickened pace which characterizes scientific research in our days. Paleontology and geology, vigorous and flourishing as they are, are still hardly "out of their teens;" but prehistoric archæology has

  1. "The Ancient Stone Implements, Weapons, and Ornaments of Great Britain." By John Evans, F.R.S., F.S.A. (New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1872.)