The Testimony of the Rocks - or, Geology in Its Bearings on the Two Theologies, Natural and Revealed
by Hugh Miller
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Transcriber's note:

The punctuation and spelling from the original text have been faithfully preserved. Only obvious typographical errors have been corrected.



Geology in Its Bearings on the Two Theologies, Natural and Revealed.



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Illustrated with Plates and Geological Sections. 12mo, cloth. Price $1.00.

"It is withal one of the most beautiful specimens of English composition to be found, conveying information on a most difficult and profound science, in a style at once novel, pleasing and elegant."—DR. SPRAGUE, ALBANY SPECTATOR.



With a fine Engraving of the Author. 12mo, cloth. Price $1.00.

A thrillingly interesting and instructive book of travels; presenting the most perfectly life-like views of England and its People to be found in the language.



With numerous Illustrations. With a Memoir of the Author, by Louis Agassiz. 12mo, cloth. Price $1.00.





With a full length Portrait of the Author. 12mo, cloth. Price $1.25.

This is a personal narrative of a deeply interesting and instructive character, concerning one of the most remarkable men of the age. It should be read and studied by every young man in the land.




"Thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field."—JOB.

With numerous elegant Illustrations. One volume, royal 12mo. Price $1.25.

This is the largest and most comprehensive geological work of this distinguished author. It exhibits the profound learning, the felicitous style, and the scientific perception, which characterize his former works, while it embraces the latest results of geological discovery. But the great charm of the book lies in those passages of glowing eloquence, in which, having spread out his facts, the author proceeds to make deductions from them of the most striking and exciting character.

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—> The above works may be had in sets of uniform size and style of binding.


KNOWLEDGE IS POWER: A VIEW OF THE PRODUCTIVE FORCES OF MODERN SOCIETY, and the Result of Labor, Capital, and Skill. By CHARLES KNIGHT. American edition, with Additions, by DAVID A. WELLS, Editor of "Annual of Scientific Discovery," &c. With numerous Illustrations. 12mo, cloth. $1.25.

This work is eminently entitled to be ranked in that class, styled, "BOOKS FOR THE PEOPLE." The author is one of the most popular writers of the day. "Knowledge is Power" treats of those things Which "come home to the business and bosoms" of every man. It is remarkable for its fullness and variety of information, and for the felicity and force with which the author applies his facts to his reasoning. The facts and illustrations are drawn from almost every branch of skilful industry. It is a work which the mechanic and artizan of every description will be sure to read with a RELISH.

This is a work of rare merit, and touches many strings of importance with which society is linked together. No work we have ever seen is better calculated to inspire and awaken inventive genius in man than this. Almost every department of human labor is represented, and it contains a large fund of useful information, condensed in a volume, every chapter of which is worth the cost of the book. It would be an act of manifest injustice to the community for any editor to feel an indifference about commending this volume to a reading public.—N.Y. CH. HERALD.

The style is admirable, and the book itself is as full of information as an egg is of meat.—JOURNAL.

As teachers we know no better remuneration, than for them FIRST to buy this book and diligently read it themselves; SECOND, to teach to their pupils the principles of industrial organization which it contains, and of the facts by which it is illustrated. It is one of the merits of this book that its facts will interest youthful minds and be retained to blossom hereafter into theories of which they are now incapable. THIRD, endeavor to have a copy procured for the district library, that the parents may read it, and the teachers reap fruit in the present generation.—N.Y. TEACHER.

Contains a great amount of information, accompanied with numerous illustrations, rendering it a compendious history of the subjects upon which it treats.—N.Y. COURIER AND INQUIRER.

We commend the work as one of real value and profitable reading.—ROCHESTER AMERICAN.

This work is a rich repository of valuable information on various subjects, having a bearing on the industrial end social interests of a community.—PURITAN RECORDER.

MY SCHOOLS AND SCHOOLMASTERS; OR, THE STORY OF MY EDUCATION. BY HUGH MILLER, author of "Old Red Sandstone," "Footprints of the Creator," "My First Impressions of England," etc. 12mo, cloth. $1.25.

"This autobiography is quite worthy of the renowned author. His first attempts at literature, and his career until he stood forth an acknowledged power among the philosophers and ecclesiastical leaders of his native land, are given without egotism, with a power and vivacity which are equally truthful and delightsome."—PRESBYTERIAN.

"Hugh Miller is one of the most remarkable men of the age. Having risen from the humble walks of life, and from the employment of a stone-cutter, to the highest rank among scientific men, everything relating to his history possesses an interest which belongs to that of few living men. There is much even in his school-boy days which points to the man as he now is. The book has all the ease and graphic power which in characteristic of his writings."—NEW YORK OBSERVER.

"This volume is a book for the ten thousand. It is embellished with an admirable likeness of Hugh Miller, the stone mason—his coat off and his sleeves rolled up—with the implements of labor in hand—his form erect, and his eye bright and piercing. The biography of such a man will interest every reader. It is a living thing—teaching a lesson of self-culture of immense value."—PHILADELPHIA CHRISTIAN OBSERVER.

"It is a portion of autobiography exquisitely told. He is a living proof that a single man may contain within himself something more than all the books in the world, some unuttered word, if he will look within and read. This is one of the best books we have had of late, and must have a hearty welcome and a large circulation in America."—LONDON CORRESP. N.Y. TRIBUNE.

"It is a work of rare interest; at times having the fascination of a romance, and again suggesting the profoundest views of education and of science. The ex-mason holds a graphic pen; a quiet humor runs through his pages; he tells a story well, and some of his pictures of home life might almost be classed with Wilson's."—NEW YORK INDEPENDENT.

"This autobiography is THE book for poor boys, and others who are struggling with poverty and limited advantages; and perhaps it is not too much to predict that in a few years it will become one of the poor man's classics, filling a space on his scanty shelf next to the Autobiography of Franklin."—NEW ENGLAND FARMER.

"Lovers of the romantic should not neglect the book, as it contains a narrative of tender passion and happily reciprocated affection, which will be read with subdued emotion and unfailing interest."—BOSTON TRAVELLER.

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Geology in Its Bearings on the Two Theologies, Natural and Revealed.



Author of "The Old Red Sandstone," "Footprints of the Creator," Etc., Etc.

With Memorials of the Death and Character of the Author.

"Thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field."—JOB.

Boston: Gould and Lincoln, 59 Washington Street. New York: Sheldon, Blakeman & Co. Cincinnati: George S. Blanchard. 1857.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1857, by GOULD AND LINCOLN, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.

Electro-Stereotyped by Geo. J. Stiles, 23 Congress St., Boston.





This volume is chiefly taken up in answering, to the best of its author's knowledge and ability, the various questions which the old theology of Scotland has been asking for the last few years of the newest of the sciences. Will you pardon me the liberty I take in dedicating it to you? In compliance with the peculiar demand of the time, that what a man knows of science or of art he should freely communicate to his neighbors, we took the field nearly together as popular lecturers, and have at least so far resembled each other in our measure of success, that the same class of censors have been severe upon both. For while you have been condemned as a physiologist for asserting that the human framework, when fairly wrought during the week, is greatly the better for the rest of the Sabbath, I have been described by the same pen as one of the wretched class of persons who teach that geology, rightly understood, does not conflict with revelation. Besides, I owe it to your kindness that, when set aside by the indisposition which renders it doubtful whether I shall ever again address a popular audience, you enabled me creditably to fulfil one of my engagements by reading for me in public two of the following discourses, and by doing them an amount of justice on that occasion which could never have been done them by their author. Further, your kind attentions and advice during the crisis of my illness were certainly every way suited to remind me of those so gratefully acknowledged by the wit of the last century, when he bethought him of

"kind Arbuthnot's aid, Who knew his art, but not his trade."

And so, though the old style of dedication has been long out of fashion, I avail myself of the opportunity it affords me of expressing my entire concurrence in your physiological views, my heartfelt gratitude for your good services and friendship, and my sincere respect for the disinterested part you have taken in the important work of elevating and informing your humbler countryfolk,—while at the same time maintaining professionally, with Simpson and with Goodsir, the reputation of that school of anatomy and medicine for which the Scottish capital has been long so famous.

I am,


With sincere respect and regard,

Yours affectionately,



Of the twelve following Lectures, four (the First, Second, Fifth, and Sixth) were delivered before the members of the Edinburgh Philosophical Institution (1852 and 1855). One (the Third) was read at Exeter Hall before the Young Men's Christian Association (1854), and the substance of two of the others (the Eleventh and Twelfth) at Glasgow, before the Geological Section of the British Association (1855). Of the five others,—written mainly to complete and impart a character of unity to the volume of which they form a part,—only three (the Fourth, Seventh, and Eighth) were addressed viva voce to popular audiences. The Third Lecture was published both in this country and America, and translated into some of the Continental languages. The rest now appear in print for the first time. Though their writer has had certainly no reason to complain of the measure of favor with which the read or spoken ones have been received, they are perhaps all better adapted for perusal in the closet than for delivery in the public hall or lecture-room; while the two concluding Lectures are mayhap suited to interest only geologists who, having already acquainted themselves with the generally ascertained facts of their science, are curious to cultivate a further knowledge with such new facts as in the course of discovery are from time to time added to the common fund. In such of the following Lectures as deal with but the established geologic phenomena, and owe whatever little merit they may possess to the inferences drawn from these, or on the conclusions based upon them, most of the figured illustrations, though not all, will be recognized as familiar: in the two concluding Lectures, on the contrary, they will be found to be almost entirely new. They are contributions, representative of the patient gleanings of years, to the geologic records of Scotland; and exhibit, in a more or less perfect state, no inconsiderable portion of all the forms yet detected in the rocks of her earlier Palaeozoic and Secondary floras.

It will be seen that I adopt, in my Third and Fourth Lectures, that scheme of reconciliation between the Geologic and Mosaic Records which accepts the six days of creation as vastly extended periods; and I have been reminded by a somewhat captious critic that I once held a very different view, and twitted with what he terms inconsistency. I certainly did once believe with Chalmers and with Buckland that the six days were simply natural days of twenty-four hours each,—that they had compressed the entire work of the existing creation,—and that the latest of the geologic ages was separated by a great chaotic gap from our own. My labors at the time as a practical geologist had been very much restricted to the Palaeozoic and Secondary rocks, more especially to the Old Red and Carboniferous Systems of the one division, and the Oolitic System of the other; and the long extinct organisms which I found in them certainly did not conflict with the view of Chalmers. All I found necessary at the time to the work of reconciliation was some scheme that would permit me to assign to the earth a high antiquity, and to regard it as the scene of many succeeding creations. During the last nine years, however, I have spent a few weeks every autumn in exploring the later formations, and acquainting myself with their peculiar organisms. I have traced them upwards from the raised beaches and old coast lines of the human period, to the brick clays, Clyde beds, and drift and boulder deposits of the Pleistocene era, and again from these, with the help of museums and collections, up through the mammaliferous crag of England, to its Red and its Coral crags. And the conclusion at which I have been compelled to arrive is, that for many long ages ere man was ushered into being, not a few of his humbler contemporaries of the fields and woods enjoyed life in their present haunts, and that for thousands of years anterior to even their appearance, many of the existing molluscs lived in our seas. That day during which the present creation came into being, and in which God, when he had made "the beast of the earth after his kind, and the cattle after their kind," at length terminated the work by moulding a creature in his own image, to whom he gave dominion over them all, was not a brief period of a few hours' duration, but extended over mayhap millenniums of centuries. No blank chaotic gap of death and darkness separated the creation to which man belongs from that of the old extinct elephant, hippopotamus, and hyaena; for familiar animals such as the red deer, the roe, the fox, the wild cat, and the badger, lived throughout the period which connected their times with our own; and so I have been compelled to hold, that the days of creation were not natural, but prophetic days, and stretched far back into the bygone eternity. After in some degree committing myself to the other side, I have yielded to evidence which I found it impossible to resist; and such in this matter has been my inconsistency,—an inconsistency of which the world has furnished examples in all the sciences, and will, I trust, in its onward progress, continue to furnish many more.


[The last proofs of this preface were despatched by the Author to his printer only the day before that melancholy termination of his life, the details of which will be found in the "MEMORIALS" following.—AM. PUBLISHERS.]



























List of Illustrations


A Restoration of Sphenopteris affinis (Frontispiece)

1. The Genealogy of Plants, 40

2. Cyclopteris Hibernicus, 42

3. Conifer of the Lower Old Red Sandstone, 43

4. The Genealogy of Animals, 45

5. Oldhamia antiqua (oldest known Zoophyte), 48

6. Palaeochorda minor, 49

7. Lycopodium clavatum, 51

8. Equisetum fluviatile, 51

9. Osmunda regalis (Royal Fern), 52

10. Pinus sylvestris (Scotch Fir), 53

11. Calamite? of the Lower Old Red Sandstone, 55

12. Lycopodite? of the Lower Old Red Sandstone, 55

13. Fern? of the Lower Old Red Sandstone, 56

14-19. Ferns of the Coal Measures, 58

20. Altingia excelsa (Norfolk Island Pine), 59

21. East Indian Fern (Asophila perrotetiana), 60

22. Section of Stem, of Tree-Fern (Cyathea), 60

23-25. Lepidodendron Sternbergii, 62

26. Calamites Mougeotii, 63

27. Sphenophyllum dentatum, 63

28. Sigillaria reniformis, 64

29. Sigillaria reniformis (nat. size), 65

30. Sigillaria pachyderma, 66

31. Stigmaria ficoides, 67

32. Favularia tessellata, 68

33. Lepidodendron obovatum, 68

34. Cycas revoluta, 69

35. Zamia pungens, 69

36. Zamia Feneonis, 69

37. Mantellia nidiformis, 70

38. Equisetum columnare, 71

39. Carpolithes conica, 72

40. Carpolithes Bucklandii, 72

41. Acer trilobatum, 73

42. Ulmus Bronnii (leaf of a tree allied to the Elm), 74

43. Palmacites Lamanonis (a Palm of the Miocene of Aix), 75

44. Cyclophthalmus Bucklandii (a Fossil Scorpion of the Coal Measures of Bohemia), 81

45. Fossil Dragon-Fly, 83

46. Cyathaxonia Dalmani, 88

47. Glyptocrinus decadactylus, 88

48. Calymene Blumenbachii, 89

49. Orthisina Verneuili, 89

50. Lituites cornu-arietis, 89

51. Lingula Lowisii, 89

52. Fort Jackson Shark (Cestracion Philippi), 91

53. The Genealogy of Fishes, 93

54. Amblypterus macropterus (a Ganoid of the Carboniferous System), 94

55. Lebias cephalotes (Cycloids of Aix), 94

56. Platax altissimus (a Ctenoid of Monte Bolca), 95

57. Pterichthys oblongus, 98

58. Pleuracanthus laevissimus, 100

59. Carcharias productus (Cutting Tooth), 101

60. Placodus gigas (Crushing Teeth), 101

61. Vespertilio Parisiensis (a Bat of the Eocene), 106

62. Ichthyosaurus communis, 106

63. Plesiosaurus dolichodeirus, 108

64. Pterodactylus crassirostris, 108

65. Chelonia Benstedi, 109

66. Palaeophis Toliapicus (Ophidian of the Eocene), 110

67. Bird-tracks of the Connecticut, 113

68. Fossil Footprint, 114

69. Thylacotherium Prevosti, 117

70. Anoplotherium commune, 120

71. Animals of the Paris Basin, 121

72. Dinotherium giganteum, 122

73. Elephas primigenius (Great British Elephant), 127

74. Trogontherium Cuvieri (Gigantic Beaver), 128

75. Ursus spelaeus (Cave Bear), 128

76. Hyaeena Spelaea (Cave Hyaena), 129

77. Asaphus caudatus, 134

78. Orthoceras laterale, 134

79. Spirigerina reticularis, 134

80. Ammonites margaritatus, 134

81. Ammonites bisulcatus, 134

82. Belemnitella mucronata, 134

83. Belemnites sulcatus, 134

84. Murex alveolatus, 135

85. Astarte Omalli, 135

86. Balanus crassus, 136

87. Astarte arctica, 152

88. Tellina proxima, 152

89. Norwegian Spruce (Abies excelsa), 153

90. Lepidodendron Sternbergii, 164

91. Calamites cannaeformis, 165

92. Megatherium Cuvieri, 167

93. Skull of Dinotherium giganteum 168

94. Ammonites Humphriesianus, 242

95. Encrinites moniliformis, 243

96. Cupressocrinus crassius, 243

97. Pentacrinus fasciculosus, 245

98. Chamfered and Imbricated Scales, 246

99. Scale of Holoptychius giganteus, 247

100. Section of Scale of Holoptychius, 248

101. Sigillaria Groeseri, 255

102-104. Whorled Shells of the Old Red Sandstone, 256

105. Murchisonia bigranulosa, 258

106. Conularia ornata, 258

107. Calico pattern (Manchester), 259

108. Smithia Pengellyi, 259

109. Apamaeean Medal, 298

110. Old Mexican Picture, 299

111. Megaceros Hibernicus (Irish Elk), 331

112. Mylodon robustus, 346

113. Glyptodon clavipes, 346

114. The Geography of Cosmas, 376

115. The Heavens and Earth of Cosmas, 377

116. Nummulites laevigata (Pharaoh's Beans), 421

117. Silurian Organism, Graptolite, etc., 431

118. Fucoid, 433

119. Fucoids, 434

120. Plant resembling Lycopodium clavatum, 437

121. Parka decipiens, 449

122. Fossil Fern (probably), 450

123. Unnamed Fossil Plant, 450

124. Cyclopterus Hibernicus, 458

125. New and peculiar Fern from Airdrie coal field, 464

126. Stigmaria, 465

127. The same, magnified, 465

128. Stigmaria, 466

129. Sphenopteris bifida, 470

130. Conifers? 475

131. Conifer Twigs, 476

132. Unnamed Fossil Plant, 478

133. Zamia, 479

134. Zamia, 480

135. Zamia of the Lias, 481

136. Zamia of the Oolite, 481

137. Zamia resembling Z. lanceolata, 482

138. Fossil Cone, 483

139. Fossil Cone, 484

140. Helmsdale Fossil Plants, 485

141. Fossil Ferns in Helmsdale Deposits, 486

142. Unnamed Fossil Plant, 488

143. Pecopteris obtusifolia, 489

144. Apparent Fern (new), 490

145. Pachypteris, 490

146. Phlebopteris, 491

147. Unnamed Fossil Plant, 492

148. Pentagon, illustrative of Fern allies, 493

149. Imbricated Stem, 494

150. Fossil Plant (Helmsdale), 495

151. Dicotyledonous Leaf of the Oolite, 496

152. Fern, 497




Unknown he came. He went a Mystery— A mighty vessel foundered in the calm, Her freight half-given to the world. To die He longed, nor feared to meet the great "I AM." Fret not. God's mystery is solved to him. He quarried Truth all rough-hewn from the earth, And chiselled it into a perfect gem— A rounded Absolute. Twain at a birth— Science with a celestial halo crowned, And Heavenly Truth—God's Works by His Word illumed— These twain he viewed in holiest concord bound. Reason outsoared itself. His mind consumed By its volcanic fire, and frantic driven, He dreamed himself in hell and woke in heaven.

EDINBURGH, December, 1856.






Near the end of last autumn the American publishers of Hugh Miller's works received from him, through his Edinburgh publishers, the offer of a new work from his pen. The offer was accepted and a contract was at once closed. Soon the advance sheets began to come; and as successive portions were received and perused, it became more and more evident that the work was destined not only to extend his fame, but to establish for him new and special claims to the admiration and gratitude of mankind. In the midst of these anticipations, and ere more than half the sheets had been received, the publishers and the public here were startled by the news that Mr. Miller had come to a violent death. The paragraph conveying the intelligence was such as to leave the mind in a state of painful suspense. But the next steamer from Europe brought full details of the lamentable event. It appeared that in a momentary fit of mental aberration he had died by his own hand, on the night of December 23d, 1856. The cause was over much brain-work. He had been long and incessantly engaged in preparing the present work for the press, when, just as he had given the last touches to the eloquent, the immortal record, reason abandoned her throne, and in the brief interregnum, that great light of science was quenched forever.

The event caused universal lamentation throughout the British Isles. It was treated as a public calamity. The British press, from the London Times to the remotest provincial newspaper, gave expression to the general sorrow in strains of unwonted eloquence; and in so doing recounted his great services to the cause of science, and paid homage to his genius.

Some of the articles which the event thus called forth have seemed to the American publishers worthy of preservation, from the authentic facts which they embody, the judgments which they express, and the literary excellence by which they are marked. They have therefore determined to print them in connection with this work as permanent Memorials of its distinguished and lamented author.

The first piece appeared in the Edinburgh Witness of December 27th, 1856,—the paper of which Mr. Miller had been the editor from its establishment in 1840. It presents an authentic account of the circumstances attending his death, and is understood to be from the pen of the REV. WILLIAM HANNA, L.L.D., the son-in-law and biographer of Dr. Chalmers, and sometime editor of the North British Review.

In the belief that nothing touching the character and memory of such a man can be regarded with other than the deepest interest, the friends of Mr. Hugh Miller have thought it due at once to his great name and to the cause of truth, to lay fully before the public a statement of the most mournful circumstances under which he has departed from this life. For some months past his over-tasked intellect had given evidence of disorder. He became the prey of false or exaggerated alarms. He fancied—if, indeed, it was a fancy—that occasionally, and for brief intervals, his faculties quite failed him,—that his mind broke down. He was engaged at this time with a treatise on the "Testimony of the Rocks," upon which he was putting out all his strength,—working at his top-most pitch of intensity. That volume will in a few weeks be in the hands of many of our readers; and while they peruse it with the saddened impression that his intellect and genius poured out their latest treasures in its composition, they will search through it in vain for the slightest evidence of feebleness or decaying power. Rather let us anticipate the general verdict that will be pronounced upon it, and speak of it as one of the ablest of all his writings. But he wrought at it too eagerly. Hours after midnight the light was seen to glimmer through the window of that room which within the same eventful week was to witness the close of the volume, and the close of the writer's life. This over-working of the brain began to tell upon his mental health. He had always been somewhat moodily apprehensive of being attacked by footpads, and had carried loaded firearms about his person. Latterly, having occasion sometimes to return to Portobello from Edinburgh at unseasonable hours, he had furnished himself with a revolver. But now, to all his old fears as to attacks upon his person, there was added an exciting and over-mastering impression that his house, and especially that Museum, the fruit of so much care, which was contained in a separate outer building, were exposed to the assault of burglars. He read all the recent stories of house robberies. He believed that one night, lately, an actual attempt to break in upon his Museum had been made. Visions of ticket-of-leave men, prowling about his premises, haunted him by day and by night. The revolver, which lay nightly near him, was not enough; a broad-bladed dagger was kept beside it; whilst behind him, at his bed head, a claymore stood ready at hand. A week or so ago, a new and more aggravated feature of cerebral disorder showed itself in sudden and singular sensations in his head. They came only after lengthened intervals. They did not last long, but were intensely violent. The terrible idea that his brain was deeply and hopelessly diseased,—that his mind was on the verge of ruin,—took hold of him, and stood out before his eye in all that appalling magnitude in which such an imagination as his alone could picture it. It was mostly at night that these wild paroxysms of the brain visited him; but up till last Monday he had spoken of them to no one. A friend who had a long conversation with him on the Thursday of last week, never enjoyed an interview more, or remembers him in a more genial mood. On the Saturday forenoon another friend from Edinburgh found him in the same happy frame. As was his wont when with an old friend with whom he felt particularly at ease, he read or recited some favorite passages, repeating, on this occasion, with great emphasis, that noble prayer of John Knox,[1] which, he told his friend, it had been his frequent custom to repeat privately during the days of the Disruption. On the forenoon of Sunday last he worshipped in the Free Church at Portobello; and in the evening read a little work which had been put into his hands, penning that brief notice of it which will be read with melancholy interest as his last contribution to this journal. About ten o'clock on Monday morning he took what with him was an altogether unusual step. He called on Dr. Balfour, in Portobello, to consult him as to his state of health. "On my asking," says Dr. Balfour, in a communication with which we have been favored, "what was the matter with him, he replied, 'My brain is giving way. I cannot put two thoughts together to-day. I have had a dreadful night of it; I cannot face another such. I was impressed with the idea that my Museum was attacked by robbers, and that I had got up, put on my clothes, and gone out with a loaded pistol to shoot them. Immediately after that I became unconscious. How long that continued, I cannot say; but when I awoke in the morning I was trembling all over, and quite confused in my brain. On rising I felt as if a stiletto was suddenly, and as quickly as an electric shock, passed through my brain from front to back, and left a burning sensation on the top of the brain just below the bone. So thoroughly convinced was I that I must have been out through the night, that I examined my trousers to see if they were wet or covered with mud, but could find none.' He further said,—'I may state that I was somewhat similarly affected through the night twice last week, and I examined my trousers in the morning to see if I had been out. Still the terrible sensations were not nearly so bad as they were last night; and I may further inform you, that towards the end of last week, while passing through the Exchange in Edinburgh, I was seized with such a giddiness that I staggered, and would, I think, have fallen, had I not gone into an entry, where I leaned against the wall, and became quite unconscious for some seconds.'" Dr. Balfour stated his opinion of the case; told him that he was over-working his brain, and agreed to call on him on the following day to make a fuller examination. Meanwhile the quick eye of affection had noticed that there was something wrong, and on Monday forenoon Mrs. Miller came up to Edinburgh to express her anxiety to Professor Miller, and request that he would see her husband. "I arranged," says Professor Miller, "to meet Dr. Balfour at Shrub Mount (Mr. Hugh Miller's house), on the afternoon of next day. We met accordingly at half-past three on Tuesday. He was a little annoyed at Mrs. Miller's having given me the trouble, as he called it, but received me quite in his ordinary kind, friendly manner. We examined his chest and found that unusually well; but soon we discovered that it was head symptoms that made him uneasy. He acknowledged having been, night after night, up till very late in the morning, working hard and continuously at his new book, 'which,' with much satisfaction, he said, 'I have finished this day.' He was sensible that his head had suffered in consequence, as evidenced in two ways: first, occasionally he felt as if a very fine poignard had been suddenly passed through and through his brain. The pain was intense, and momentarily followed by confusion and giddiness, and the sense of being 'very drunk,'—unable to stand or walk. He thought that a period of unconsciousness must have followed this,—a kind of swoon,—but he had never fallen. Second, what annoyed him most, however, was a kind of nightmare, which for some nights past had rendered sleep most miserable. It was no dream, he said; he saw no distinct vision, and could remember nothing of what had passed accurately. It was a sense of vague and yet intense horror, with a conviction of being abroad in the night wind, and dragged through places as if by some invisible power. 'Last night,' he said, 'I felt as if I had been ridden by a witch for fifty miles, and rose far more wearied in mind and body than when I lay down.' So strong was his conviction of having been out, that he had difficulty in persuading himself to the contrary, by carefully examining his clothes in the morning, to see if they were not wet or dirty; and he looked inquiringly and anxiously to his wife, asking if she was sure he had not been out last night, and walking in this disturbed trance or dream. His pulse was quiet, but tongue foul. The head was not hot, but he could not say it was free from pain. But I need not enter into professional details. Suffice it to say that we came to the conclusion that he was suffering from an over-worked mind, disordering his digestive organs, enervating his whole frame, and threatening serious head affection. We told him this, and enjoined absolute discontinuance of work, bed at eleven, light supper (he had all his life made that a principal meal), thinning the hair of the head, a warm sponging-bath at bed time, &c. To all our commands he readily promised obedience, not forgetting the discontinuance of neck rubbing, to which he had unfortunately been prevailed to submit some days before. For fully an hour we talked together on these and other subjects, and I left him with no apprehension of impending evil, and little doubting but that a short time of rest and regimen would restore him to his wonted vigor." It was a cheerful hour that thus was passed, and his wife and family partook of the hopeful feeling with which his kind friend, Professor Miller, had parted with him. It was now near the dinner hour, and the servant entered the room to spread the table. She found Mr. Miller in the room alone. Another of the paroxysms was on him. His face was such a picture of horror that she shrunk in terror from the sight. He flung himself on the sofa, and buried his head, as if in agony, upon the cushion. Again, however, the vision flitted by, and left him in perfect health. The evening was spent quietly with his family. During tea he employed himself in reading aloud Cowper's "Castaway," the Sonnet on Mary Unwin, and one of his more playful pieces, for the special pleasure of his children. Having corrected some proofs of the forthcoming volume, he went up stairs to his study. At the appointed hour he had taken the bath, but unfortunately his natural and peculiar repugnance to physic had induced him to leave untaken the medicine that had been prescribed. He had retired into his sleeping-room,—a small apartment opening out of his study, and which, for some time past, in consideration of the delicate state of his wife's health, and the irregularity of his own hours of study, he occupied at night alone,—and lain sometime upon the bed. The horrible trance, more horrible than ever, must have returned. All that can now be known of what followed is to be gathered from the facts, that next morning his body, half dressed, was found lying lifeless on the floor, the feet upon the study rug, the chest pierced with the ball of the revolver pistol, which was found lying in the bath that stood close by.[2] The deadly bullet had perforated the left lung, grazed the heart, cut through the pulmonary artery at its root, and lodged in the rib in the right side. Death must have been instantaneous. The servant by whom the body was first discovered, acting with singular discretion, gave no alarm, but went instantly in search of the doctor and minister; and on the latter the melancholy duty was devolved of breaking the fearful intelligence to that now broken-hearted widow, over whose bitter Borrow it becomes us to draw the veil. The body was lifted and laid upon the bed. We saw it there a few hours afterwards. The head lay back sideways on the pillow. There was the massive brow, the firm-set, manly features, we had so often looked upon admiringly, just as we had lately seen them,—no touch nor trace upon them of disease,—nothing but that overspread pallor of death to distinguish them from what they had been. But the expression of that countenance in death will live in our memory forever. Death by gunshot wounds is said to leave no trace of suffering behind; and never was there a face of the dead freer from all shadow of pain, or grief, or conflict, than that of our dear departed friend. And as we bent over it, and remembered the troubled look it sometimes had in life, and thought what must have been the sublimely terrific expression that it wore at the moment when the fatal deed was done, we could not help thinking that it lay there to tell us, in that expression of unruffled, majestic repose that sat upon every feature, what we so assuredly believe, that the spirit had passed through a terrible tornado, in which reason had been broken down; but that it had made the great passage in safety, and stood looking back to us, in humble, grateful triumph, from the other side.

On looking round the room in which the body had been discovered, a folio sheet of paper was seen lying on the table. On the centre of the page the following lines were written,—the last which that pen was ever to trace:—

"DEAREST LYDIA,—My brain burns. I must have walked; and a fearful dream rises upon me. I cannot bear the horrible thought. God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ have mercy upon me. Dearest Lydia, dear children, farewell. My brain burns as the recollection grows. My dear, dear wife, farewell."


What a legacy of love to a broken-hearted family! and to us, and all who loved him, how pleasing to observe, that in that bewildering hour, when the horror of that great darkness came down upon that noble spirit, and some hideous, shapeless phantom overpowered it, and took from it even the capacity to discern the right from the wrong, humility, and faith, and affection, still kept their hold;—amid the ruins of the intellect, that tender heart remaining still unbroken! These last lines remain as the surest evidence of the mysterious power that laid his spirit prostrate, and of the noble elements of which that spirit was composed,—humble, and reverent, and loving to the last.

Yesterday, at the request of friends, and under the authority of the Procurator-Fiscal, a post mortem examination of the body took place. We subjoin the result:—

"EDINBURGH, December 26, 1856.

"We hereby certify, on soul and conscience, that we have this day examined the body of Mr. Hugh Miller, at Shrub Mount, Portobello.

"The cause of death we found to be a pistol-shot through the left side of the chest; and this, we are satisfied, was inflicted by his own hand.

"From the diseased appearances found in the brain, taken in connection with the history of the case, we have no doubt that the act was suicidal under the impulse of insanity."


We must ask to be excused from attempting any analysis of Mr. Miller's character and genius, or any estimate of the distinguished services he has rendered to literature, science, and the Christian faith. His loss is too heavy a one,—his removal has come upon us too suddenly and too awfully for mind or hand to be steady enough for such a task. The voice of the public press has already told what a place he had won for himself in the admiration and affection of his countrymen; and for the delicate and tender way in which the manner of his departure has universally been alluded to, were we permitted to speak in the name of Mr. Miller's friends, we should express our deepest gratitude. It is a beautiful and worthy tribute that his brother journalists have rendered to the memory of one who was a laborer along with them in elevating the talent and tone of our newspaper literature.

As Free Churchmen, however, it would be unpardonable were we to omit all reference, at such a time as this, to what he did on behalf of the church of his adoption. Dr. Chalmers did not err when, self-oblivious, he spake of Mr. Miller, as he so often did, as the greatest Scotchman alive after Sir Walter Scott's death, and as the man who had done more than all others to defend and make popular throughout the country the non-intrusion cause. We know well what the mutual love and veneration was of those two great men for one another whilst living; and now that both are gone,—and hereafter we believe still more so than even now,—their two names will be intertwined in the grateful and admiring remembrance of the ministers and members of the Free Church. It was die high honor of the writer of these hurried lines to record the part taken by his venerated relative in that great ecclesiastical struggle which terminated in the Disruption. At that lime it was matter to him of great regret that, as his office was that of the biographer, and not of the historian, there did not occur those natural opportunities of speaking of the part taken by Mr. Miller in that struggle, of which he gladly would have availed himself. And he almost wishes now that he had violated what appeared to him to be his duty, in order to create such an opportunity. He feels as if in this he had done some injustice to the dead,—an injustice which it would gratify him beyond measure if he could now in any way repair, by expressing it as his own judgment, and the judgment of the vast body of his Church, that, next to the writings and actings of Dr. Chalmers, the leading articles of Mr. Miller in this journal did more than anything else to give the Free Church the place it holds in the affections of so many of our fellow-countrymen.

But Mr. Miller was far more than a Free Churchman, and did for the Christianity of his country and the world a far higher service than any which in that simple character and office was rendered by him. There was nothing in him of the spirit and temper of the sectarian. He breathed too broad an atmosphere to live and move within such narrow bounds. In the heat of the conflict there may have been too much occasionally of the partisan; and in the pleasure that the sweep and stroke of his intellectual tomahawk gave to him who wielded it, he may have forgotten at times the pain inflicted where it fell; but let his writings before and after the Disruption be now consulted, and it will be found that it was mainly because of his firm belief, whether right or wrong, that the interests of vital godliness were wrapped up in it, that he took his stand, and played his conspicuous part, in the ecclesiastical conflict. It is well known that for some time past,—for reasons to which it would be altogether unseasonable to allude,—he has ceased to take any active part in ecclesiastical affairs. He had retired even, in a great measure, from the field of general literature, to devote himself to the study of Geology. His past labors in this department,—enough to give him a high and honored place among its most distinguished cultivators,—he looked upon but as his training for the great life-work he had marked out for himself,—the full investigation and illustration of the Geology of Scotland. He had large materials already collected for this work; and it was his intention, after completing that volume which has happily been left in so finished a state, to set himself to their arrangement. The friends of science in many lands will mourn over the incompleted project which, however ably it may hereafter be accomplished by another, it were vain to hope shall ever be so accomplished as it should have been by one who united in himself the power of accurate observation, of logical deduction, of broad generalization, and of pictorial and poetic representation. But the friends of Christianity cannot regret, that since it was the mysterious decree of Heaven that he should prematurely fall,—his work as a pure Geologist not half done,—he should have been led aside by the publication of the Vestiges of Creation to that track of semi-theological, semi-scientific research to which his later studies and later writings have been devoted. That, as it now seems to us, was the great work which it was given him on earth to do,—to illustrate the perfect harmony of all that science tells us of the physical structure and history of our globe, with all that the Bible tells of the creation and government of this earth by and through Christ Jesus our Lord. The establishment and exhibition of that harmony was a task to which is it too much to say that there was no man living so competent as he? We leave it to the future to declare how much he has done by his writings to fulfil that task; but mourning, as we now can only do, over his sad and melancholy death,—to that very death, with all the tragic circumstances that surround it, we would point as the closing sacrifice offered on the altar of our faith. His very intellect, his reason,—God's most precious gift,—a gift dearer than life,—perished in the great endeavor to harmonize the works and word of the Eternal. A most inscrutable event, that such an intellect should have been suffered to go to wreck through too eager a prosecution of such a work. But amid the mystery, which we cannot penetrate, our love, and our veneration, and our gratitude, toward that so highly gifted and truly Christian man shall only grow the deeper because of the cloud and the whirlwind in which he has been borne off from our side.

On the 31st of December, two days after the obsequies had been performed, Dr. Hanna resumed the subject in the following elevated strain:

We have still but little heart to dilate on any political or literary topic. Our thoughts can dwell on but one thrice melancholy event. Need we name that event? Alas, no! It had occurred but a few hours when the tidings of it struck our city with stunning, stupefying, and deeply saddening blow. It has already thrilled our whole land; and is on its way, through a hundred channels, to the west, to the east, and to the south, carrying with it mourning and lamentation throughout the vast area which is covered by the language in which Hugh Miller wrote. Writing, as it were, amid the deep shadows of the funeral chamber, and brought in a manner into the very presence of the dead, we are made strongly to feel, and we daresay our readers to a large extent will feel, too, the nothingness of those discussions which usually occupy and engross men. The weightiest matter that ever occupied the wisdom of cabinet or the pen of journalist appears verily but fleeting and transitory, when brought thus into prominent contrast with the awful realities of human existence and destiny; and it is only when reflection shows us that these matters are yet parts of a grand Providential scheme, embracing man's happiness now, and entering deeply into the question of his future and eternal well-being, that we can see in them that amount of significance and importance which they really possess.

From the firmament of British literature and science a great light has departed. But yesterday we rejoiced in its beams, and now it has set all suddenly and forever; and to us there remains but the melancholy task of bewailing its departure, and tracing very hastily and imperfectly its track. The intellectual powers of Hugh Miller had certainly not declined. He was marked to the very last by that wonderful robustness of mind which had characterized him all through life. His sense was as manly, his judgment as sound and comprehensive, his penetration as discriminating and deep, his imagination as vigorous and bold, and his taste as pure and trusty, as they had ever been. The whole of his great powers were found working together up to the last week of his earthly career, with their usually calm, noiseless strength, and finely balanced and exquisitely toned harmony. We have evidence of this fact under his own hand in recent numbers of the Witness. His last two articles were, the one on Russia, and the other on our modern poets. The former,—that on the resources of the Russian empire,—is characterized by the same wide range of thinking, the same skill in analysis, and the same power of grouping and arranging details, and making them to throw light on some great principle, which usually marked and notified his hand when employed on such subjects. The latter,—that on the poets,—is rich and genial as usual, betokening a full and unclouded recollection of all his early reading in that department of our literature, abounding in the finest touches of pathos and beauty, and redolent with a most generous sympathy with kindred genius. It is not inconsistent with what we have now stated, and it is the fact, that latterly the inroads of disease, which had entrenched itself deeply in a constitution originally strong, and which kept steadily advancing upon the vital powers, had come so near the seat of the mind, that for short intervals the noble spirit was sadly beclouded, and its moral and intellectual action momentarily suspended. But, apart from this, there seemed ground to believe that there was yet before Mr. Miller much honorable and noble labor. The strong man, after all his tasks, appeared to be still strong. His powers were mellowing into richness and calm, matured strength; his conceptions of great principles were growing yet wider; his store of facts, literary as well as scientific, was accumulating with every busy and laborious year that passed over him; and there did seem ground to expect from his pen, unrivalled among his contemporaries in its exquisite purity and calm power, many a deep thoughted article, and many a profoundly reasoned and richly illustrated volume. We looked to him for the solution of many a dark question in science; and we certainly hoped, from that fine union of science and theology which dwelt in him above all men, for a yet fuller and more complete adjustment of the two great records of Creation,—that of the Rocks, and that of Moses. But alas! all these hopes have suddenly failed us. It seemed right otherwise to the Great Disposer of all. He has said to his faithful servant, "Enough."

Let us look back upon that work. We by no means aim at giving a calm, well weighed, and deeply pondered estimate of it, but only such a glance as the circumstances permit and require. His great and special work was his advocacy of the principles of the Free Church. Mr. Miller was par excellence the popular expounder and defender of these principles, whether in their embryotic state in the Non-Intrusion party, or as embodied in the fully developed and completely emancipated Free Protesting Church of Scotland. For this service, in connection with which he would have best liked to be remembered, as he best deserved it, he had unconsciously been undergoing a course of preparation even when a boy. He himself has told us with what eagerness he devoured, at that period of life, the legendary histories of Wallace and Bruce; and the occupation had its use. It gave him a capacity for admiring what was great though perilous in exploit, and for truly and largely sympathizing with what was patriotic and self-sacrificing in character; and so it created a groundwork for his own future thinking and acting. The admiration he then bore to these earliest of our "Scottish Worthies," who vindicated on Bannockburn, and kindred fields, Scotland's right to be an independent and free country, he afterwards transferred to our later "Worthies," whom he revered as greater still. Not that he ever lost his admiration of the former, or ceased to value the incalculable services they rendered to the Scottish nation; but that he regarded Knox and Melville as men occupying a yet higher platform,—as gifted with a yet deeper insight into their country's wants,—as, in short, carrying forward and consummating the glorious task which Wallace and Bruce had but begun. He saw that unless our reformers had come after our heroes, planting schools, founding colleges, and, above all, imparting to their countrymen a scriptural and rational faith, in vain had Bruce unsheathed his sword,—in vain had Wallace laid down his life. Wallace and Bruce had created an independent country; Knox and Melville had created an independent people. They were the creators of the Scottish nation,—the real enfranchisers of our people; and it was this that taught Mr. Miller to venerate these men so profoundly, and that made him in his inmost soul a devoted follower, and to the utmost extent of his great faculties a defender, of their cause. He was a soldier from love,—pure, heroic, chivalrous devotion soaring infinitely above the partisan. He saw that the Church of Scotland was the creator of the rights and privileges of the people of Scotland,—that she was the grand palladium of the country's liberties,—that while she stood an independent and free institution, the people stood an independent and free nation,—and that bonds to her meant slavery to them. Therefore did he gird on the sword when he saw peril gathering around her. The privileges,—the entire standing of the common people, as given them by the Reformation,—he saw to be in danger: he was "one of themselves;" and he felt and fought as if almost the quarrel had been a personal one, and the question at issue his own liberty or slavery. How richly equipped and nobly armed he came into the field, we need not here state. What fulness yet precision of ecclesiastical lore,—what strength and conclusiveness of argument,—what flashes of humor, wit, and sarcasm,—and in what a luminous yet profoundly philosophical light did he set the great principles involved in the controversy, making them patent in the very cottages of our land, and so fixing them in the understandings of the very humblest of our people, that they never afterwards could be either misunderstood or forgotten! It was thus that the way was prepared for the great result of the 18th of May, 1843.

Of Mr. Miller, as a man of science and a public journalist, we cannot speak at present at any length. In him the love of science was deeply seated and early developed. The first arena on which he appeared—obscure and humble as it was—afforded him special opportunities of initiating himself into what to him was then, and continued ever afterwards to be, a most fascinating study. The study of geology was eagerly prosecuted amid the multifarious duties, and during the brief pauses, of a busy life. Several original discoveries rewarded his patient and laborious investigations. He succeeded at length in placing his name in the first rank of British scientific thinkers and writers. His works are characterized by a fine union of strict science, classic diction, and enchanting description, which rises not unfrequently into the loftiest vein of poetry. The fruits of his researches were ever made to bear upon the defence and elucidation of the Oracles of Truth. Our common Christianity owes much to his pen. Viewing him as a journalist, Mr. Miller not only excelled in article writing,—the most difficult of all kinds of composition,—but, as will be generally admitted, he has introduced a new era into newspaper writing. If the moral tone of our newspaper press is higher now than it was twenty-five years ago, we have Mr. Miller in large degree to thank for it; and to him, too, is to be traced that purer style and more philosophic spirit which begins to be discernible in the columns of our public journals.

But the character in which his personal friends will deplore him most, and will most frequently recall his memory, will be that of the man. How meek and gentle he was!—how unpretending and modest, even as a very child!—how true and steady in friendship!—how wise and playful his mirth!—how ripened and chastened his wisdom!—how ready to counsel!—how willing to oblige!—how generous and large his sympathies! No little jealousies, no fretful envyings, had he! Even in opposition, how noble and manly was he: if a powerful, he was a fair and open antagonist; and whatever hard blows were dealt, they were dealt in his own journal. We have seen him in various moods and in all circumstances; but never did we hear him utter an unkind or disparaging word of man. He was, too, a sincere and humble Christian; and the lively faith which he cherished in the adorable Redeemer and his all-efficacious sacrifice, bore abundantly its good fruits in a life including no ordinary variety of condition and trial, and running on to such term as to make abundantly manifest what manner of man he was.

The article which follows is from the Edinburgh News. It is evidently from the pen of one who was intimately acquainted with Hugh Miller, and is worthy of attention, not only for its eloquent and discriminating notices of his works, but also for its statements respecting his great designs, never, alas, to be accomplished.

It is not many months since we chronicled the death of the greatest of living Scotsmen, and the prince of modern philosophers—Sir William Hamilton. These last few days have bereft us of another of our countrymen not less illustrious, and known all over the world as one of the princes of geology. We cannot well estimate the loss which society sustains in the death of Mr. Miller. He occupied a foremost place among us, and there is none on whom his mantle can fall. In the world of letters his name takes high rank, for undoubtedly he was one of the ablest writers in our literature. Who can have read without delight his manly, vigorous language, soaring sometimes into the highest eloquence, anon plunging into the depths of metaphysical argument, or grappling with the dry technicalities of science, yet ever rolling along with the same easy, onward flow? His style has all the charm of Goldsmith's sweetness, with the infusion of a rich vigor that gives it an air of great originality. He is one of the few writers who have successfully conjoined the graces of literature with the formal details of science, and whose works are perused for their literary excellences, independently altogether of their scientific merit. His writings will ever be regarded among the classics of the English language. For obvious reasons we pass over his editorial labors. It is on the republic of science that his death will fall most heavily. There can be little doubt that he has done more to popularize his favorite department than any other writer. Of all geological works, his enjoy, perhaps, the widest circulation—not in this country, merely, but all over the world, and especially in the United States. His reputation, however, does not rest solely on his standing as an exponent of science to the people; he was himself an original and accurate observer. When the infant science of geology was battling for existence against the opposing phalanx of united Christendom, Hugh Miller, then a mere lad, was quietly working as a stone-mason in the north of Scotland, and employing his leisure time among the fossil fishes of the Old Red Sandstone, and the ammonites and the belemnites of the Lias, that abound in the neighborhood of Cromarty. As years rolled slowly away, he continued his observations, and when at length, in 1841, the results were given to the world in his well known "Old Red Sandstone," every one was charmed with the novelty and beauty of the style, and his reputation as a writer was at once established. Men of science, however, though acknowledging the graphic and elegant diction of his descriptions, had some doubts as to their truthfulness. Indeed, by some geologists they were cast aside as fanciful, and other restorations of the Old Red fishes were proposed and adopted. Those who are acquainted with Old Red ichthyolites, or who have had the pleasure of examining the exquisite series in Mr. Miller's collection, may well smile at the absurdity of the restorations that were adopted. Yet some of these found their way into a work of no little popularity,—Mantell's "Medals of Creation." It is sufficient to state that the drawings there given bear no resemblance to anything in the heavens above or on the earth beneath, or in the waters under the earth, nor to any fossil organism that has ever been discovered. At length the progress of investigation led to the discarding of these monstrosities, and Miller's restorations were returned to, as, after all, the true ones. "The Old Red Sandstone" formed an era in the history of fossil geology. That formation had hitherto been regarded as well nigh barren of organic remains; but Mr. Miller demonstrated that it contains at least three successive stages, each characterized by a suite of uncouth and hitherto unknown fishes. A few years later he published his "Footprints of the Creator." This is undoubtedly his chef-d'oeuvre, exhibiting, as it does, the full powers of his massive intellect and his poetic imagination. As a piece of scientific investigation and research, it is of a very high order; as a reply to the crudities of the development theory, it is unanswerable; and as a contribution to our physico-theological literature, it ranks, with Chalmers' "Astronomical Lectures," among the finest in this or any other language. Some of the ideas are as profound as they are original, opening up a new field of thought, which it was doubtless the intention of the deceased himself to cultivate. His published works, however, contain but a fraction, of the labors of his lifetime. For many years past he has been, one of the most energetic members of the Royal Physical Society, at whose meetings he from time to time made known the progress of his researches. Were these papers collected, they would form several goodly volumes. But their author studiously refrained from publishing them, save occasionally in the columns of the Witness newspaper. It was his intention that they should each form a part of the great work of his life, to which for many years his leisure moments had been devoted. His design was to combine the results of all his labors among the different rock formations of Scotland into one grand picture of the geological history of our country. For this end he had explored a large part of the Scottish counties, anxious that his statements should rest as far as possible upon the authority of his own personal investigations. His knowledge of the geology of the country was thus far more extensive than was generally supposed. We may refer particularly to that branch of it on which he bestowed the unremitted attention of his closing years,—the palaeontological history of the glacial beds,—that strange and as yet almost unknown period that ushered in the existing creation. He studied it minutely along the shores of the Moray Firth, on the east coast of Scotland, along the shores of Fife and the Lothians, and on the coast of Ayrshire and the Firth of Clyde. This last summer he made a tour through the centre of the island, and obtained boreal shells at Buchlyvie in Stirlingshire,—the omphalos of Scotland. The importance of this discovery, in connection with those he had previously made in following out the same chain of evidence, can only be appreciated by those who have paid some attention to geology. We may state briefly that it proves the central area of Scotland to have been submerged beneath an icy sea, and icebergs to have grated along over what is now the busy valley of the Forth and Clyde, while the waters were tenanted by shells at present found only in the Northern Ocean. A large part of his work is written, though it is to be feared that much knowledge, amassed in the course of its preparation, has perished with him. In particular, there were whole sections of his Museum understood only by himself. Every little fragment had its story, and contributed its quota of evidence to the truth of his descriptions. There is, perhaps, but another mind in Britain,—that of Sir Philip Egerton,—that can catch up the thread, and read off, though with difficulty, the meaning of those carefully arranged fragments. Yet, even with such aid, much must long, if not forever, remain dark and obscure. The work on which he was more immediately engaged at the time of his death was partly theological, partly scientific. It was to embrace the substance of some lectures lately delivered, and a paper read last year before the British Association at Glasgow on the fossil plants collected by himself from the Oolite and Old Red Sandstone of Scotland. It was likewise to contain the figures of some thirty or forty hitherto undescribed species of vegetables. We hope that, as it was all but ready for publication, it may yet be given to the world.

The name of Hugh Miller will ever stand forth as synonymous with all that is honest and manly; as the impersonation of moral courage and indomitable energy; as the true ideal of a self-educated man. From the humblest sphere of life, and from the toils of a stone-mason's apprentice, without means, without friends, without other than the most rudimentary education, he rose, by his own unaided and unwearied exertions, to fill one of the brightest pages in the annals of our country. And when, in future years, an example is sought of unconquerable perseverance, of fearless integrity, and of earnest, ceaseless activity, the voice of universal approbation shall proclaim—"the stone-mason of Cromurty." We have spoken of this mournful event only as a public calamity; yet, to those who were personally acquainted with the departed, it is invested with no ordinary sadness. Long, long shall they remember the playful fancy, the rich humor, the warm, genial heart of their friend. His simple, open frankness endeared him to every one, though his retiring disposition prevented him from making many intimate friendships. To those who enjoyed this higher privilege, his death must have caused the most poignant regret. Yet what can even their sorrow be to that of the relatives of the departed? We lament the death of one who was alike an honor to his profession, to literature, to science, and to his country,—one of the most loved and cherished of friends. Let us not forget to mingle our sympathy and our sorrow with that deeper grief that mourns the loss of a husband and a father.

As coming from a different quarter, and presenting a somewhat different view, the following, from the London Literary Gazette, should have a place here.

Hugh Miller was born at Cromarty in 1805. In his early life he worked as a laborer in the Sandstone quarries in his native district, and afterwards as a stone-mason in different parts of Scotland. In a work published in 1854, "My Schools and Schoolmasters, or the story of my Education," Mr. Miller gives a most interesting account of his early history, and of the training and self-culture by which he rose to honorable rank in literature and science. Notwithstanding the unpretending statements of this narrative, and the disavowal of any other elements of success than are within ordinary reach, every reader of that book feels that homage is due to a genius original and rare, as well as to natural talents diligently and judiciously cultivated. While professedly written for the benefit of the working classes of his own country, there are few who may not derive pleasant and profitable lessons from this most remarkable piece of autobiography. After being engaged in manual labor for about fifteen years, Mr. Miller was for some time manager of a bank that was established in his native town. While in this position, a pamphlet that he published, on the ecclesiastical controversies which then distracted Scotland, attracted the attention of the leaders of the party who now form the Free Church, and they invited him to be editor of the Witness newspaper, then about to be established for the advocacy of their principles. Mr. Miller had already published a volume of "Legendary Tales of Cromarty," of which the late Baron Hume, nephew of the historian, himself a man of much judgment and taste, said it was "written in an English style, which he had begun to regard as one of the lost arts." The ability displayed by Mr. Miller as editor of the Witness, and the influence exerted by him on ecclesiastical and educational events in Scotland, are well known. Mr. Miller did not confine his newspaper to topics of local or passing interest. In its columns he made public his geological observations and researches; and most of his works originally appeared in the form of articles in that newspaper. It was in 1840, the year at which the autobiographical memoir closes, that the name of Hugh Miller first became widely known beyond his own country.

At the meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science at Glasgow that year, Sir Roderick, then Mr. Murchison, gave an account of the striking discoveries recently made in the Old Red Sandstone of Scotland. M. Agassiz, who was present, pointed out the peculiarities and the importance of these discoveries; and it was on this occasion that he proposed to associate the name of Mr. Miller with them, by the wonderful fossil, the Pterichthys Milleri, specimens of which were then under the notice of the section. Dr. Buckland, following M. Agassiz, said that "he had never been so much astonished in his life by the powers of any man as he had been by the geological descriptions of Mr. Miller. He described these objects with a felicity which made him ashamed of the comparative meagreness and poverty of his own descriptions in the 'Bridgewater Treatise,' which had cost him hours and days of labor. He (Dr. Buckland) would give his left hand to possess such powers of description as this man; and if it pleased Providence to spare his useful life, he, if any one, would certainly render the science attractive and popular, and do equal service to theology and geology." At the meetings of the Association, the language of panegyric and of mutual compliment is not unfrequent, and does not signify much; but these were spontaneous tributes of praise to one comparatively unknown. The publication of the volume on the "Old Red Sandstone," with the details of the author's discoveries and researches, more than justified all the anticipations that had been formed. It was received with highest approbation, not by men of science alone, for the interest of its facts, but by men of letters, for the beauty of its style. Sir Roderick Murchison, in his address to the Geological Society that year, "hailed the accession to their science of such a writer," and said that "his work is, to a beginner, worth a thousand didactic treatises." The Edinburgh Review spoke of the book being "as admirable for the clearness of its descriptions, and the sweetness of its composition, as for the purity and gracefulness that pervade it." The impression made by such a testimony was the more marked, that the reviewer spoke of the writer as a fellow countryman, "meritorious and self-taught."

In 1847 appeared "First Impressions of England and its People," the result of a tour made during the previous year. Some parts of this book, especially the account of the pilgrimages to Stratford-on-Avon, and the Leasowes, and Olney, and other places memorable for their literary associations, are as fine pieces of descriptive writing as the English language possesses. This magic of style characterized all his works, whether those of a more popular kind, or his scientific treatises, such as the "Old Red Sandstone," and "Footprints of the Creator," a volume suggested by the "Vestiges of Creation," and subversive of the fallacies of that superficial and plausible book. Not one of the authors of our day has approached Hugh Miller as a master of English composition, for the equal of which we must go back to the times of Addison, Hume, and Goldsmith. Other living writers have now a wider celebrity, but they owe it much to the peculiarities of their style or the popularity of their topics. Mr. Miller has taken subjects of science, too often rendered dry and repulsive, and has thrown over them an air of attractive romance. His writings on literature, history, and politics, are known to comparatively few, from having appeared in the columns of a local newspaper. A judicious selection from his miscellaneous articles in the Witness would widely extend his fame, and secure for him a place, in classic English literature, as high as he held during his life as a periodical writer and as a scientific geologist.

The personal appearance of Mr. Miller, or "Old Red," as he was familiarly named by his scientific friends, will not be forgotten by any who have seen him. A head of great massiveness, magnified by an abundant profusion of sub-Celtic hair, was set on a body of muscular compactness, but which in later years felt the undermining influence of a life of unusual physical and mental toil. Generally wrapped in a bulky plaid, and with a garb ready for any work, he had the appearance of a shepherd from the Rosshire hills rather than an author and a man of science. In conversation or in lecturing, the man of original genius and cultivated mind at once shone out, and his abundant information and philosophical acuteness were only less remarkable than his amiable disposition, his generous spirit, and his consistent, humble piety. Literature and science have lost in him one of their brightest ornaments, and Scotland one of its greatest men.

* * * * *

On the Sabbath following Mr. Miller's death, sermons referring to the event were preached in many of the churches in Edinburgh. Some of these were reported in the newspapers, among which may be mentioned those by the Rev. Drs. Hanna, Guthrie, Hetherington, Begg, and Tweedie.

On Monday, December the 29th, the Funeral Obsequies were performed. The following account of the imposing ceremonial is from the Edinburgh Witness.


The mortal remains of this truly great man were consigned to the grave on Monday, amid the most marked demonstrations of sorrow on the part of the entire community.

The private company, numbering about sixty individuals, met at Shrub Mount, the residence of the deceased at Portobello, about a quarter to one in the afternoon. Amongst those present were the Lord Provost of Edinburgh; A.M. Dunlop, Esq., M.P.; A. Black, Esq., M.P.; Professors Simpson, Balfour, and Fraser; Rev. Principal Cunningham; Professor James Buchanan; Rev. Drs. Guthrie, Candlish, Hanna, Bruce, Begg, Hetherington, and Wylie; Rev. Messrs. M'Kenzie of Dunfermline, Cameron and Hunter of Nagpoor; Maurice Lothian, Esq.; Geo. Dalziell, Esq., W.S.; W. Wood, Esq.; R. Paul, Esq.; Francis Russell, Esq., advocate; M. Torrance, Esq.; Dr. Russell; Dr. Geo. Bell; J.F. Macfarlan, Esq.; Archibald Gibson, Esq.; and Councillor Johnston. The devotional exercises were conducted by Dr. Guthrie, who was deeply affected during the prayer, and whose feelings at times threatened to overcome him.

Thirteen two-horse mourning coaches were here in waiting to convey the company to the place of sepulture in the Grange Cemetery, preceded by the hearse, which had four horses.

The melancholy event, as might have been expected, cast a gloom over the whole of Portobello; and the Provost and Magistrates, anticipating the general feeling of the inhabitants, to whom Mr. Miller had endeared himself by his genius and the modesty of his demeanor, and also by the readiness which he ever displayed to contribute to their intellectual elevation, by taking part in several courses of popular lectures in the town, recommended the closing of the different shops,—a request which was at once readily complied with. Another striking proof of the general desire to pay the last tribute of respect to the remains of the deceased, was furnished by the circumstance that upwards of one hundred gentlemen, many of whom had, so recently as the previous Tuesday, listened to the reading of one of the ablest of his lectures, by the Rev. Mr. Wight, the Congregational minister, met at half-past twelve in the Free Church, in order to accompany the funeral, either on foot or in carriages, to the burial place,—a distance of about four miles. After a short, impressive religious service, conducted by the Rev. Mr. Philip and the Rev. Mr. Wight, they proceeded to join the private company, who had by this time taken their places in the mourning carriages, on their way to Edinburgh.

On reaching the General Post-Office, in Waterloo Place, the ranks of the funeral procession were largely augmented, there being here as many as from twenty to thirty private carriages in waiting, filled with the leading citizens, and a large body of the inhabitants, of all ranks, classes, and denominations, drawn up in line three or four abreast.

The Kirk-Session of Free St. John's, of which Mr. Miller was an office-bearer, headed by the Rev. Dr. Guthrie and the Rev. Dr. Hanna, who left the carriage at the Post-Office, occupied the front of the procession, immediately followed by the Royal Physical Society, of which the lamented deceased was a leading member, the employes in the Witness office, and a large body of the general public. A still more numerous body of the citizens, as well as of parties from Glasgow, Liverpool, Stirling, Bridge of Allan, and other parts of the country, drew up in the rear of the long line of carriages, while the sides of the streets were also lined with mourners, who accompanied the procession to the Cemetery. Besides the large concourse of people who here joined the procession, the whole front of the Register Office and the corners of the North Bridge were densely occupied by some thousands of spectators; and it may be safely said, that no event since the death of Dr. Chalmers has caused such deep-felt sorrow and regret in Edinburgh. The numbers present in the funeral cortege must have amounted to from one to two thousand; indeed, one paper states that "at one time there could not have been many less than four thousand people in the procession;" whilst another journal says, that although the inclemency of the weather, the day being one of the dreariest of the season, "kept back many who would otherwise have swelled the line of mourners, even with this drawback, it has been informed that the attendance was even greater than on the occasion of the funeral of Dr. Chalmers in 1847."

After a short delay, caused by these accessions to the procession, the whole moved up the North Bridge. It was gratifying to observe that nearly all the shops on the North and South Bridges, and in Nicolson and Clerk streets, along which the cortege passed, were closed; and along the whole route many a saddened countenance and tearful eye could be seen, all testifying to the deep respect entertained for him whose manly form had so often traversed these same streets.

On reaching the entrance of the Grange Cemetery, the coffin was removed from the hearse, and borne shoulder high to the tomb, followed by the pall-bearers and the general company. The ground selected for the burial-place is the westmost space but one on the northern side of the Cemetery, and in a line with the graves of Dr. Chalmers, Sir Andrew Agnew, and Sheriff Speirs, with which it is in close proximity. As many of our readers are aware, the situation is one of surpassing scenic beauty, and was described by the deceased's own matchless pen but a few years ago, on the occasion of the burial of Chalmers; and certainly in the grave of Hugh Miller a new feature of attraction has been added to the spot.

The pall-bearers were Mr. Miller's oldest son,—a boy about fourteen years of age,—who was accompanied by his younger brother, six or seven years old; Mr. A. Williamson, his half-brother and nearest kinsman; Mr. Fairly, his partner in business; Rev. Dr. Guthrie, Rev. Dr. Hanna, Mr. Dunlop, M.P., Mr. R. Paul, and Principal Cunningham.

The mournful ceremony was now near its close. As the heavy, dull sound, caused by the fall of the damp earth upon the coffin, fell upon the ear, a sad and painful sensation crept over the frame, increased as this was by the wintry aspect of the day and the heavy leaden sky, which, like a pall, was spread over the face of nature, in striking harmony with the solemnity of the scene. A few minutes more, and all was over; and the vast company, uncovered, paid the closing mark of respect to the ashes of the mighty dead. A touching scene occurred at the close of all. After the whole of the company had retired, a laboring man, clad in humble habiliments, seized hold of a handful of ivy or laurel leaves, and gently strewed them upon the grave, while the tearful eye eloquently spoke of the strength of his feelings.

So passed away one of whom Dr. Chalmers made the remark that "since Scott's death he was the greatest Scotchman that was left." "The space his name occupied in the literary and scientific world," says another, "could hardly have been conjectured, but for the blank he leaves behind him now that he has left it. Other men may have extended the domain of science wider; but no man has done more to extend the circle of its votaries by the magic of his style and the life-like power of his descriptions; nor has any man done more to keep together the claims, too often made to appear divergent, of Science and Religion, and to blend them into one intelligent and reasonable service. It was worth while to have lived to effect this, even at the cost of the clouds which saddened and darkened the close. But

——'glory without end Scatters the clouds away; and on that name attend The thanks and praises of all time.'"




O Lord God Almightie, and Father moste mcrcifull, there is none lyke thee in heaven nor in earthe, which workest all thinges for the glorie of thy name and the comfort of thyne elect. Thou dydst once make man ruler over all thy creatures, and placed hym in the garden of all pleasures; but how soone, alas, dyd he in his felicitie forget thy goodness? Thy people Israel also, in their wealth dyd evermore runne astray, abusinge thy manifold mercies; lyke as all fleshe contynually rageth when it hath gotten libertie and external prosperitie. But such is thy wisdome adjoyned to thy mercies, deare Father, that thou sekest all means possible to brynge thy chyldren to the sure sense and lyvely feelinge of thy fatherly favour. And therefore when prosperitie wyll not serve, then sendest thow adversitie, graciously correctinge all thy chyldren whome thou receyvest into thy howshold. Wherfore we, wretched and miserable synners, render unto thee most humble and hartie thankes, that yt hath pleased thee to call us home to thy folde by thy Fatherly correction at this present, wheras in our prosperitie and libertie we dyd neglect thy graces offered unto us. For the which negligence, and many other grevous synnes whereof we now accuse our selves before thee, thow mightest moste justly have gyven us up to reprobate mynds and induration of our hartes, as thow haste done others. But such is thy goodnes, O Lord, that thou semest to forget alt our offences, and haste called us of thy good pleasure from all idolatries into this Citie most Christianlye refourmed, to professe thy name, and to suffer some crosse amongest thy people for thy truth and Gospell's sake; and so to be thy wytnesses with thy Prophets and Apostles, yea, with thy dearely beloved Sonne Jesus Christ our head, to whome thow dost begynne here to fashion us lyke, that in his glorie we may also be lyke hym when he shall appear. O Lord God, what are we upon whome thowe shuldest shewe this great mercye? O moste lovynge Lord, forgyve us our unthankfulnes, and all our synnes, for Jesus Christ's sake. O heavenly Father, increase thy Holy Spirit in us, to teache our heartes to cry Abba, deare Father! to assure us of our eternal election in Christ; to revele thy wyll more and more towards us; to confirme us so in thy trewthe, that we may lyve and dye therein; and that by the power of the same Spirit we may boldlely gyve an accompts of our faith to all men with humblenes and mekenes, that whereas they backbyte and slaunder us as evyll doers, they may be ashamed and once stopp their mowthes, seinge our good conversation in Christ Iesu, for whose sake we beseche thee, O Lord God, to guide, governe, and prosper this our enterprise in assemblinge our bretherne, to prayse thy holie name. And not only to be here present with us thy children according to thy promesse, but also mercifullie to assist thy like persecuted people, our Bretherne, gathered in all other places, that they and we, consentinge together in one spirite and truethe, may (all worldly respectes set a part) seke thy onely honor and glorie in all our and their Assemblies.





Palaeontology, or the science of ancient organisms, deals, as its subject, with all the plants and animals of all the geologic periods. It bears nearly the same sort of relation to the physical history of the past, that biography does to the civil and political history of the past. For just as a complete biographic system would include every name known to the historian, a complete palaeontologic system would include every fossil known to the geologist. It enumerates and describes all the organic existences of all the extinct creations,—all the existences, too, of the present creation that occur in the fossil or semi-fossil form; and, thus coextensive in space with the earth's surface,—nay, greatly more than coextensive with the earth's surface,—for in the vast hieroglyphic record which our globe composes, page lies beneath page, and inscription covers over inscription,—coextensive, too, in time, with every period in the terrestrial history since being first began upon our planet,—it presents to the student a theme so vast and multifarious, that it might seem but the result, on his part, of a proper modesty, conscious of the limited range of his powers, and of the brief and fleeting term of his life, were he to despair of being ever able effectually to grapple with it. "But," to borrow from one of the most ingenious of our Scottish metaphysicians, "in this, as in other instances in which nature has given us difficulties with which to cope, she has not left us to be wholly overcome." "If," says Dr. Thomas Brown, in his remarks on the classifying principle,—"if she has placed us in a labyrinth, she has at the same time furnished us with a clue which may guide us, not, indeed, through all its dark and intricate windings, but through those broad paths which conduct us into day. The single power by which we discover resemblance or relation in general, is a sufficient aid to us in the perplexity or confusion of our first attempts at arrangement. It begins by converting thousands, and more than thousands, into one; and, reducing in the same manner the numbers thus formed, it arrives at last at the few distinctive characters of those great comprehensive tribes on which it ceases to operate, because there is nothing left to oppress the memory or the understanding."

But, is this all? Can the Palaeontologist but say that that classifying principle, which in every other department of science yields such assistance to the memory, is also of use in his, or but urge that it enables him to sort and arrange his facts; and that, by converting one idea into the type and exemplar of many resembling ones, it imparts to him an ability of carrying not inadequate conceptions of the mighty whole in his mind? If this were all, you might well ask, Why obtrude upon us, in connection with your special science, a common semi-metaphysical idea, equally applicable to all the sciences,—in especial, for example, to that botany which is the science of existing plants, and to that zoology which is the science of existing animals? Nay, I reply, but it is not all. I refer to this classifying principle because, while it exists in relation to all other sciences as a principle—to use the words of the metaphysician just quoted—"given to us by nature,"—as a principle of the mind within,—it exists in Palaeontological science as a principle of nature itself,—as a principle palpably external to the mind. It is a marvellous fact, whose full meaning we can as yet but imperfectly comprehend, that myriads of ages ere there existed a human mind, well nigh the same principles of classification now developed by man's intellect in our better treatises of zoology and botany, were developed on this earth by the successive geologic periods; and that the by-past productions of our planet, animal and vegetable, were chronologically arranged in its history, according to the same laws of thought which impart regularity and order to the works of the later naturalist and phytologists.

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