Imatges de pÓgina
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might be. At the moment of time when the body of this work had been printed off, and when the best means of information were unavailable, the Second Report of the Irish Commission on Railways was published. The uncommon ability and high national value of that Report are here fully and readily acknowledged. Though the author's scheme may in some features differ from that of the Irish Commission, yet, notwithstanding, he now ventures on publishing what he had previously said on the planning of Railways in Ireland; and the more especially as a modification of the two schemes

may perhaps furnish the best practical course which could be taken. Such a remodification of those plans may be properly dispensed with in this place; and he shall here claim a fair attention only to the objects already described— to the central wealth of Irish territory, and the sum of its western population. He ventures to submit that these claim a central line, and immediate communication with Belfast.

The Irish Commission Report has noticed in passing, what the reader will find more extensively and exactly handled in the following pages.

It is there observed, “Should a Railway communication be continued from Lancaster to Glasgow, which appears to be not improbable,”—and it is gratifying to meet with a remark so plain, from authorities thus able and influential," the mail might be forwarded, by that route, to Portpatrick for the north of Ireland, so as to reach Belfast, perhaps, in about 19 or 20 hours.” In stating such an opinion, it is obvious that the Commission must have contemplated the construction of a line of railway from Portpatrick to North Lancashire, and another to Newcastle-upon-Tyne; on this view a railway from Portpatrick to Glasgow by the shortest available route, would be imperatively called for; and thus the main outline of the scheme of national railways described in the following pages, is amply justified. Not only is this so, but on the more perfect lines here suggested, and according to the Report of the Irish Commission, it would seem quite practicable, to reach Glasgow, from London, in 16 hours, by the way of Whitehaven, (steam navigation from thence

to Kirkcudbright,) and by the valley of the Cree, through the town of Ayr.

In the course of his researches the author has felt, that however many have passed over the field, there is still something left for him to glean ; and if, in presenting a general theory, he may have committed some errors in detail, he trusts that, like his predecessors, an amendment of such errors, by future Geologists and men of science and experience, may add to the progress of more exact knowledge. He shall rejoice, therefore, in contemplating the results of the future, in the hope that his humble labours may prove useful in contributing to the perfection of some happier author. He cannot but perceive that in the anxiety of speculators to attain a better system of Geology, they had been too often induced to discard the only certain data which they possess in the revelations of the sacred volume. That volume, however, in the true spirit of its letter, composed in an oriental language, yet definite in its applied sense, the author of the following pages believes to be founded in exact truth.

However defective his own efforts may be, the author humbly relies upon the spirit of his motives as an excuse for the attempt made to render Geology more exact and plain in scientific classi fication. If the five orders into which he has thought proper to divide Geology, be considered either inapplicable or erroneous, he is ready to stand corrected. Yet as an humble follower of an inspired penman, he must have good reasons assigned for consenting to any change of either principles or deductions. Because he believes Divine revelation to be true and unassailable. For he feels that both the science of Geology, and its professors, must gain a

more intimate connection with the sacred and conservating influence emanating from the records of Holy Writ.

In conclusion, if this work should fail to be of utility to the general mass of his fellow-beings, the author nevertheless trusts that he may have contributed some mite to the advancement and welfare of his native country. He means well; and whatever doubts may be entertained of the

efficiency of his labours, he is conscious of having been animated throughout by good-will towards man, and a humble desire to vindicate the power and wisdom of God.

August 31, 1838.

PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.

OCEANIC deposition is admitted to be a leading feature in Geology. An admission of drifted materials, as a consequence undeniably admits also a material check on the speed of Oceanic currents ; and demonstrates the means by which the Ocean has subsided. Geology is therefore a strictly physical science. Fully assured of these truths, I did not scruple in giving them publication. It therefore became my purpose to trace out the lines of tidal deposition in concordance with the leading theory; and in how much I have succeeded in following up such a purpose, I leave the candid reader to judge for himself. Having made a number of Geological observations on our island, often without a distinct object in view, they were necessarily defective; yet quite adequate for giving the out

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