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History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom by Andrew Dickson White

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imperfections, he urged mankind to believe came into being in an
instant. The preface of the work is especially touching, and it
ends with the prayer that science and Scripture may be reconciled
by his theory, and "that the God of truth will deign so to use
it, and if he do, to him be all the glory."[177] At the close of
the whole book Gosse declared: "The field is left clear and
undisputed for the one witness on the opposite side, whose
testimony is as follows: `In six days Jehovah made heaven and
earth, the sea, and all that in them is.'" This quotation he
placed in capital letters, as the final refutation of all that
the science of geology had built.

[177] See Gosse, Omphalos, London, 1857, p. 5, and passim; and
for a passage giving the keynote of the whole, with a most
farcical note on coprolites, see pp. 353, 354.

In other parts of Europe desperate attempts were made even later
to save the letter of our sacred books by the revival of a theory
in some respects more striking. To shape this theory to recent
needs, vague reminiscences of a text in Job regarding fire
beneath the earth, and vague conceptions of speculations made by
Humboldt and Laplace, were mingled with Jewish tradition. Out of
the mixture thus obtained Schubert developed the idea that the
Satanic "principalities and powers" formerly inhabiting our
universe plunged it into the chaos from which it was newly
created by a process accurately described in Genesis. Rougemont
made the earth one of the "morning stars" of Job, reduced to
chaos by Lucifer and his followers, and thence developed in
accordance with the nebular hypothesis. Kurtz evolved from this
theory an opinion that the geological disturbances were caused by
the opposition of the devil to the rescue of our universe from
chaos by the Almighty. Delitzsch put a similar idea into a more
scholastic jargon; but most desperate of all were the statements
of Dr. Anton Westermeyer, of Munich, in The Old Testament
vindicated from Modern Infidel Objections. The following
passage will serve to show his ideas: "By the fructifying
brooding of the Divine Spirit on the waters of the deep, creative
forces began to stir; the devils who inhabited the primeval
darkness and considered it their own abode saw that they were to
be driven from their possessions, or at least that their place of
habitation was to be contracted, and they therefore tried to
frustrate God's plan of creation and exert all that remained to
them of might and power to hinder or at least to mar the new
creation." So came into being "the horrible and destructive
monsters, these caricatures and distortions of creation," of
which we have fossil remains. Dr. Westermeyer goes on to insist
that "whole generations called into existence by God succumbed to
the corruption of the devil, and for that reason had to be
destroyed"; and that "in the work of the six days God caused the
devil to feel his power in all earnest, and made Satan's
enterprise appear miserable and vain."[178]

[178] See Shields's Final Philosophy, pp. 340 et seq., and
Reusch's Nature and the Bible (English translation, 1886), vol.
i, pp. 318-320.

Such was the last important assault upon the strongholds of
geological science in Germany; and, in view of this and others
of the same kind, it is little to be wondered at that when, in
1870, Johann Silberschlag made an attempt to again base geology
upon the Deluge of Noah, he found such difficulties that, in a
touching passage, he expressed a desire to get back to the theory
that fossils were "sports of Nature."[179]

[179] See Reusch, vol. i, p. 264.

But the most noted among efforts to keep geology well within the
letter of Scripture is of still more recent date. In the year
1885 Mr. Gladstone found time, amid all his labours and cares as
the greatest parliamentary leader in England, to take the field
in the struggle for the letter of Genesis against geology.

On the face of it his effort seemed Quixotic, for he confessed at
the outset that in science he was "utterly destitute of that kind
of knowledge which carries authority," and his argument soon
showed that this confession was entirely true.

But he had some other qualities of which much might be expected:
great skill in phrase-making, great shrewdness in adapting the
meanings of single words to conflicting necessities in
discussion, wonderful power in erecting showy structures of
argument upon the smallest basis of fact, and a facility almost
preternatural in "explaining away" troublesome realities. So
striking was his power in this last respect, that a humorous
London chronicler once advised a bigamist, as his only hope, to
induce Mr. Gladstone to explain away one of his wives.

At the basis of this theologico-geological structure Mr.
Gladstone placed what he found in the text of Genesis: "A grand
fourfold division" of animated Nature "set forth in an orderly
succession of times." And he arranged this order and succession
of creation as follows: "First, the water population; secondly,
the air population; thirdly, the land population of animals;
fourthly, the land population consummated in man."

His next step was to slide in upon this basis the apparently
harmless proposition that this division and sequence "is
understood to have been so affirmed in our time by natural
science that it may be taken as a demonstrated conclusion and
established fact."

Finally, upon these foundations he proceeded to build an argument
out of the coincidences thus secured between the record in the
Hebrew sacred books and the truths revealed by science as regards
this order and sequence, and he easily arrived at the desired
conclusion with which he crowned the whole structure, namely, as
regards the writer of Genesis, that "his knowledge was

[180] See Mr. Gladstone's Dawn of Creation and Worship, a reply
to Dr. Reville, in the Nineteenth Century for November, 1885.

Such was the skeleton of the structure; it was abundantly
decorated with the rhetoric in which Mr. Gladstone is so skilful
an artificer, and it towered above "the average man" as a
structure beautiful and invincible--like some Chinese fortress in
the nineteenth century, faced with porcelain and defended with

Its strength was soon seen to be unreal. In an essay admirable
in its temper, overwhelming in its facts, and absolutely
convincing in its argument, Prof. Huxley, late President of the
Royal Society, and doubtless the most eminent contemporary
authority on the scientific questions concerned, took up the

Mr. Gladstone's first proposition, that the sacred writings give
us a great "fourfold division" created "in an orderly succession
of times," Prof. Huxley did not presume to gainsay.

As to Mr. Gladstone's second proposition, that "this great
fourfold division... created in an orderly succession of
times...has been so affirmed in our own time by natural science
that it may be taken as a demonstrated conclusion and established
fact," Prof. Huxley showed that, as a matter of fact, no such
"fourfold division" and "orderly succession" exist; that, so far
from establishing Mr. Gladstone's assumption that the population
of water, air, and land followed each other in the order given,
"all the evidence we possess goes to prove that they did not";
that the distribution of fossils through the various strata
proves that some land animals originated before sea animals; that
there has been a mixing of sea, land, and air "population"
utterly destructive to the "great fourfold division" and to the
creation "in an orderly succession of times"; that, so far is the
view presented in the sacred text, as stated by Mr. Gladstone,
from having been "so affirmed in our own time by natural science,
that it may be taken as a demonstrated conclusion and established
fact" that Mr. Gladstone's assertion is "directly contradictory
to facts known to every one who is acquainted with the elements
of natural science"; that Mr. Gladstone's only geological
authority, Cuvier, had died more than fifty years before, when
geological science was in its infancy [and he might have added,
when it was necessary to make every possible concession to the
Church]; and, finally, he challenged Mr. Gladstone to produce any
contemporary authority in geological science who would support
his so-called scriptural view. And when, in a rejoinder, Mr.
Gladstone attempted to support his view on the authority of Prof.
Dana, Prof. Huxley had no difficulty in showing from Prof.
Dana's works that Mr. Gladstone's inference was utterly
unfounded. But, while the fabric reared by Mr. Gladstone had
been thus undermined by Huxley on the scientific side, another
opponent began an attack from the biblical side. The Rev. Canon
Driver, professor at Mr. Gladstone's own University of Oxford,
took up the question in the light of scriptural interpretation.
In regard to the comparative table drawn up by Sir J. W. Dawson,
showing the supposed correspondence between the scriptural and
the geological order of creation, Canon Driver said: "The two
series are evidently at variance. The geological record contains
no evidence of clearly defined periods corresponding to the
`days' of Genesis. In Genesis, vegetation is complete two days
before animal life appears. Geology shows that they appear
simultaneously--even if animal life does not appear first. In
Genesis, birds appear together with aquatic creatures, and
precede all land animals; according to the evidence of geology,
birds are unknown till a period much later than that at which
aquatic creatures (including fishes and amphibia) abound, and
they are preceded by numerous species of land animals--in
particular, by insects and other `creeping things.'" Of the
Mosaic account of the existence of vegetation before the creation
of the sun, Canon Driver said, "No reconciliation of this
representation with the data of science has yet been found"; and
again: "From all that has been said, however reluctant we may be
to make the admission, only one conclusion seems possible. Read
without prejudice or bias, the narrative of Genesis i, creates an
impression at variance with the facts revealed by science." The
eminent professor ends by saying that the efforts at
reconciliation are "different modes of obliterating the
characteristic features of Genesis, and of reading into it a view
which it does not express."

Thus fell Mr. Gladstone's fabric of coincidences between the
"great fourfold division" in Genesis and the facts ascertained by
geology. Prof. Huxley had shattered the scientific parts of the
structure, Prof. Driver had removed its biblical foundations,
and the last great fortress of the opponents of unfettered
scientific investigation was in ruins.

In opposition to all such attempts we may put a noble utterance
by a clergyman who has probably done more to save what is
essential in Christianity among English-speaking people than any
other ecclesiastic of his time. The late Dean of Westminster,
Dr. Arthur Stanley, was widely known and beloved on both
continents. In his memorial sermon after the funeral of Sir
Charles Lyell he said: "It is now clear to diligent students of
the Bible that the first and second chapters of Genesis contain
two narratives of the creation side by side, differing from each
other in almost every particular of time and place and order. It
is well known that, when the science of geology first arose, it
was involved in endless schemes of attempted reconciliation with
the letter of Scripture. There were, there are perhaps still,
two modes of reconciliation of Scripture and science, which have
been each in their day attempted, AND EACH HAS TOTALLY AND
DESERVEDLY FAILED. One is the endeavour to wrest the words of the
Bible from their natural meaning and FORCE IT TO SPEAK THE
LANGUAGE OF SCIENCE." And again, speaking of the earliest known
example, which was the interpolation of the word "not" in
Leviticus xi, 6, he continues: "This is the earliest instance of
and it has been followed in later times by the various efforts
which have been made to twist the earlier chapters of the book of
Genesis into APPARENT agreement with the last results of
geology--representing days not to be days, morning and evening
not to be morning and evening, the Deluge not to be the Deluge,
and the ark not to be the ark."

After a statement like this we may fitly ask, Which is the more
likely to strengthen Christianity for its work in the twentieth
century which we are now about to enter--a large, manly, honest,
fearless utterance like this of Arthur Stanley, or hair-splitting
sophistries, bearing in their every line the germs of failure,
like those attempted by Mr. Gladstone?

The world is finding that the scientific revelation of creation
is ever more and more in accordance with worthy conceptions of
that great Power working in and through the universe. More and
more it is seen that inspiration has never ceased, and that its
prophets and priests are not those who work to fit the letter of
its older literature to the needs of dogmas and sects, but those,
above all others, who patiently, fearlessly, and reverently
devote themselves to the search for truth as truth, in the faith
that there is a Power in the universe wise enough to make
truth-seeking safe and good enough to make truth-telling

[181] For the Huxley-Gladstone controversy, see The Nineteenth
Century for 1885-'86. For Canon Driver, see his article, The
Cosmogony of Genesis, in The Expositor for January, 1886.




In the great ranges of investigation which bear most directly
upon the origin of man, there are two in which Science within the
last few years has gained final victories. The significance of
these in changing, and ultimately in reversing, one of the
greatest currents of theological thought, can hardly be
overestimated; not even the tide set in motion by Cusa,
Copernicus, and Galileo was more powerful to bring in a new epoch
of belief.

The first of these conquests relates to the antiquity of man on
the earth.

The fathers of the early Christian Church, receiving all parts of
our sacred books as equally inspired, laid little, if any, less
stress on the myths, legends, genealogies, and tribal, family,
and personal traditions contained in the Old and the New
Testaments, than upon the most powerful appeals, the most
instructive apologues, and the most lofty poems of prophets,
psalmists, and apostles. As to the age of our planet and the
life of man upon it, they found in the Bible a carefully recorded
series of periods, extending from Adam to the building of the
Temple at Jerusalem, the length of each period being explicitly

Thus they had a biblical chronology--full, consecutive, and
definite--extending from the first man created to an event of
known date well within ascertained profane history; as a result,
the early Christian commentators arrived at conclusions varying
somewhat, but in the main agreeing. Some, like Origen, Eusebius,
Lactantius, Clement of Alexandria, and the great fathers
generally of the first three centuries, dwelling especially upon
the Septuagint version of the Scriptures, thought that man's
creation took place about six thousand years before the Christian
era. Strong confirmation of this view was found in a simple
piece of purely theological reasoning: for, just as the seven
candlesticks of the Apocalypse were long held to prove the
existence of seven heavenly bodies revolving about the earth, so
it was felt that the six days of creation prefigured six thousand
years during which the earth in its first form was to endure;
and that, as the first Adam came on the sixth day, Christ, the
second Adam, had come at the sixth millennial period.
Theophilus, Bishop of Antioch, in the second century clinched
this argument with the text, "One day is with the Lord as a
thousand years."

On the other hand, Eusebius and St. Jerome, dwelling more
especially upon the Hebrew text, which we are brought up to
revere, thought that man's origin took place at a somewhat
shorter period before the Christian era; and St. Jerome's
overwhelming authority made this the dominant view throughout
western Europe during fifteen centuries.

The simplicity of these great fathers as regards chronology is
especially reflected from the tables of Eusebius. In these,
Moses, Joshua, and Bacchus,--Deborah, Orpheus, and the
Amazons,--Abimelech, the Sphinx, and Oedipus, appear together as
personages equally real, and their positions in chronology
equally ascertained.

At times great bitterness was aroused between those holding the
longer and those holding the shorter chronology, but after all
the difference between them, as we now see, was trivial; and it
may be broadly stated that in the early Church, "always,
everywhere, and by all," it was held as certain, upon the
absolute warrant of Scripture, that man was created from four to
six thousand years before the Christian era.

To doubt this, and even much less than this, was to risk
damnation. St. Augustine insisted that belief in the antipodes
and in the longer duration of the earth than six thousand years
were deadly heresies, equally hostile to Scripture. Philastrius,
the friend of St. Ambrose and St. Augustine, whose fearful
catalogue of heresies served as a guide to intolerance throughout
the Middle Ages, condemned with the same holy horror those who
expressed doubt as to the orthodox number of years since the
beginning of the world, and those who doubted an earthquake to be
the literal voice of an angry God, or who questioned the
plurality of the heavens, or who gainsaid the statement that God
brings out the stars from his treasures and hangs them up in the
solid firmament above the earth every night.

About the beginning of the seventh century Isidore of Seville,
the great theologian of his time, took up the subject. He
accepted the dominant view not only of Hebrew but of all other
chronologies, without anything like real criticism. The
childlike faith of his system may be imagined from his summaries
which follow. He tells us:

"Joseph lived one hundred and five years. Greece began to
cultivate grain."

"The Jews were in slavery in Egypt one hundred and forty-four
years. Atlas discovered astrology."

"Joshua ruled for twenty-seven years. Ericthonius yoked horses

"Othniel, forty years. Cadmus introduced letters into Greece."

"Deborah, forty years. Apollo discovered the art of medicine and
invented the cithara."

"Gideon, forty years. Mercury invented the lyre and gave it to

Reasoning in this general way, Isidore kept well under the longer
date; and, the great theological authority of southern Europe
having thus spoken, the question was virtually at rest throughout
Christendom for nearly a hundred years.

Early in the eighth century the Venerable Bede took up the
problem. Dwelling especially upon the received Hebrew text of
the Old Testament, he soon entangled himself in very serious
difficulties; but, in spite of the great fathers of the first
three centuries, he reduced the antiquity of man on the earth by
nearly a thousand years, and, in spite of mutterings against him
as coming dangerously near a limit which made the theological
argument from the six days of creation to the six ages of the
world look doubtful, his authority had great weight, and did much
to fix western Europe in its allegiance to the general system
laid down by Eusebius and Jerome.

In the twelfth century this belief was re-enforced by a tide of
thought from a very different quarter. Rabbi Moses Maimonides
and other Jewish scholars, by careful study of the Hebrew text,
arrived at conclusions diminishing the antiquity of man still
further, and thus gave strength throughout the Middle Ages to the
shorter chronology: it was incorporated into the sacred science
of Christianity; and Vincent of Beauvais, in his great Speculum
Historiale, forming part of that still more enormous work
intended to sum up all the knowledge possessed by the ages of
faith, placed the creation of man at about four thousand years
before our era.[182]

[182] For a table summing up the periods, from Adam to the
building of the Temple, explicitly given in the Scriptures, see
the admirable paper on The Pope and the Bible, in The
Contemporary Review for April, 1893. For the date of man's
creation as given by leading chronologists in various branches of
the Church, see L'Art de Verifier les Dates, Paris, 1819, vol. i,
pp. 27 et seq. In this edition there are sundry typographical
errors; compare with Wallace, True Age of the World, London,
1844. As to preference for the longer computation by the fathers
of the Church, see Clinton, Fasti Hellenici, vol. ii, p. 291.
For the sacred significance of the six days of creation in
ascertaining the antiquity of man, see especially Eichen,
Geschichte der mittelalterlichen Weltanschauung; also Wallace,
True Age of the World, pp. 2,3. For the views of St. Augustine,
see Topinard, Anthropologie, citing the De Civ. Dei., lib. xvi,
c. viii, c. x. For the views of Philastrius, see the De
Hoeresibus, c. 102, 112, et passim, in Migne, tome xii. For
Eusebius's simple credulity, see the tables in Palmer's Egyptian
Chronicles, vol. ii, pp. 828, 829. For Bede, see Usher's
Chronologia Sacra, cited in Wallace, True Age of the World, p.
35. For Isidore of Seville, see the Etymologia, lib. v, c. 39;
also lib. iii, in Migne, tome lxxxii.

At the Reformation this view was not disturbed. The same manner
of accepting the sacred text which led Luther, Melanchthon, and
the great Protestant leaders generally, to oppose the Copernican
theory, fixed them firmly in this biblical chronology; the
keynote was sounded for them by Luther when he said, "We know, on
the authority of Moses, that longer ago than six thousand years
the world did not exist." Melanchthon, more exact, fixed the
creation of man at 3963 B.C.

But the great Christian scholars continued the old endeavour to
make the time of man's origin more precise: there seems to have
been a sort of fascination in the subject which developed a long
array of chronologists, all weighing the minutest indications in
our sacred books, until the Protestant divine De Vignolles, who
had given forty years to the study of biblical chronology,
declared in 1738 that he had gathered no less than two hundred
computations based upon Scripture, and no two alike.

As to the Roman Church, about 1580 there was published, by
authority of Pope Gregory XIII, the Roman Martyrology, and this,
both as originally published and as revised in 1640 under Pope
Urban VIII, declared that the creation of man took place 5199
years before Christ.

But of all who gave themselves up to these chronological studies,
the man who exerted the most powerful influence upon the dominant
nations of Christendom was Archbishop Usher. In 1650 he
published his Annals of the Ancient and New Testaments, and it at
once became the greatest authority for all English-speaking
peoples. Usher was a man of deep and wide theological learning,
powerful in controversy; and his careful conclusion, after years
of the most profound study of the Hebrew Scriptures, was that man
was created 4004 years before the Christian era. His verdict was
widely received as final; his dates were inserted in the margins
of the authorized version of the English Bible, and were soon
practically regarded as equally inspired with the sacred text
itself: to question them seriously was to risk preferment in the
Church and reputation in the world at large.

The same adhesion to the Hebrew Scriptures which had influenced
Usher brought leading men of the older Church to the same view:
men who would have burned each other at the stake for their
differences on other points, agreed on this: Melanchthon and
Tostatus, Lightfoot and Jansen, Salmeron and Scaliger, Petavius
and Kepler, inquisitors and reformers, Jesuits and Jansenists,
priests and rabbis, stood together in the belief that the
creation of man was proved by Scripture to have taken place
between 3900 and 4004 years before Christ.

In spite of the severe pressure of this line of authorities,
extending from St. Jerome and Eusebius to Usher and Petavius, in
favour of this scriptural chronology, even devoted Christian
scholars had sometimes felt obliged to revolt. The first great
source of difficulty was increased knowledge regarding the
Egyptian monuments. As far back as the last years of the
sixteenth century Joseph Scaliger had done what he could to lay
the foundations of a more scientific treatment of chronology,
insisting especially that the historical indications in Persia,
in Babylon, and above all in Egypt, should be brought to bear on
the question. More than that, he had the boldness to urge that
the chronological indications of the Hebrew Scriptures should be
fully and critically discussed in the light of Egyptian and other
records, without any undue bias from theological considerations.
His idea may well be called inspired; yet it had little effect
as regards a true view of the antiquity of man, even upon
himself, for the theological bias prevailed above all his
reasonings, even in his own mind. Well does a brilliant modern
writer declare that, "among the multitude of strong men in modern
times abdicating their reason at the command of their prejudices,
Joseph Scaliger is perhaps the most striking example."
Early in the following century Sir Walter Raleigh, in his History
of the World (1603-1616), pointed out the danger of adhering to
the old system. He, too, foresaw one of the results of modern
investigation, stating it in these words, which have the ring of
prophetic inspiration: "For in Abraham's time all the then known
parts of the world were developed....Egypt had many magnificent
cities,...and these not built with sticks, but of hewn
stone,...which magnificence needed a parent of more antiquity
than these other men have supposed." In view of these
considerations Raleigh followed the chronology of the Septuagint
version, which enabled him to give to the human race a few more
years than were usually allowed.

About the middle of the seventeenth century Isaac Vossius, one of
the most eminent scholars of Christendom, attempted to bring the
prevailing belief into closer accordance with ascertained facts,
but, save by a chosen few, his efforts were rejected. In some
parts of Europe a man holding new views on chronology was by no
means safe from bodily harm. As an example of the extreme
pressure exerted by the old theological system at times upon
honest scholars, we may take the case of La Peyrere, who about
the middle of the seventeenth century put forth his book on the
Pre-Adamites--an attempt to reconcile sundry well-known
difficulties in Scripture by claiming that man existed on earth
before the time of Adam. He was taken in hand at once; great
theologians rushed forward to attack him from all parts of
Europe; within fifty years thirty-six different refutations of
his arguments had appeared; the Parliament of Paris burned the
book, and the Grand Vicar of the archdiocese of Mechlin threw him
into prison and kept him there until he was forced, not only to
retract his statements, but to abjure his Protestantism.

In England, opposition to the growing truth was hardly less
earnest. Especially strong was Pearson, afterward Master of
Trinity and Bishop of Chester. In his treatise on the Creed,
published in 1659, which has remained a theologic classic, he
condemned those who held the earth to be more than fifty-six
hundred years old, insisted that the first man was created just
six days later, declared that the Egyptian records were forged,
and called all Christians to turn from them to "the infallible
annals of the Spirit of God."

But, in spite of warnings like these, we see the new idea
cropping out in various parts of Europe. In 1672, Sir John
Marsham published a work in which he showed himself bold and
honest. After describing the heathen sources of Oriental
history, he turns to the Christian writers, and, having used the
history of Egypt to show that the great Church authorities were
not exact, he ends one important argument with the following
words: "Thus the most interesting antiquities of Egypt have been
involved in the deepest obscurity by the very interpreters of her
chronology, who have jumbled everything up (qui omnia susque
deque permiscuerunt), so as to make them match with their own
reckonings of Hebrew chronology. Truly a very bad example, and
quite unworthy of religious writers."

This sturdy protest of Sir John against the dominant system and
against the "jumbling" by which Eusebius had endeavoured to cut
down ancient chronology within safe and sound orthodox limits,
had little effect. Though eminent chronologists of the
eighteenth century, like Jackson, Hales, and Drummond, gave forth
multitudes of ponderous volumes pleading for a period somewhat
longer than that generally allowed, and insisting that the
received Hebrew text was grossly vitiated as regards chronology,
even this poor favour was refused them; the mass of believers
found it more comfortable to hold fast the faith committed to
them by Usher, and it remained settled that man was created about
four thousand years before our era.

To those who wished even greater precision, Dr. John Lightfoot,
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, the great
rabbinical scholar of his time, gave his famous demonstration
from our sacred books that "heaven and earth, centre and
circumference, were created together, in the same instant, and
clouds full of water," and that "this work took place and man was
created by the Trinity on the twenty-third of October, 4004 B.C.,
at nine o'clock in the morning."

This tide of theological reasoning rolled on through the
eighteenth century, swollen by the biblical researches of leading
commentators, Catholic and Protestant, until it came in much
majesty and force into our own nineteenth century. At the very
beginning of the century it gained new strength from various
great men in the Church, among whom may be especially named Dr.
Adam Clarke, who declared that, "to preclude the possibility of a
mistake, the unerring Spirit of God directed Moses in the
selection of his facts and the ascertaining of his dates."

All opposition to the received view seemed broken down, and as
late as 1835--indeed, as late as 1850--came an announcement in
the work of one of the most eminent Egyptologists, Sir J. G.
Wilkinson, to the effect that he had modified the results he had
obtained from Egyptian monuments, in order that his chronology
might not interfere with the received date of the Deluge of

[183] For Lightfoot, see his Prolegomena relating to the age of
the world at the birth of Christ; see also in the edition of his
works, London, 1822, vol. 4, pp. 64, 112. For Scaliger, see in
the De Emendatione Temporum, 1583; also Mark Pattison, Essays,
Oxford, 1889, vol. i, pp. 162 et seq. For Raleigh's misgivings,
see his History of the World, London, 1614, p. 227, book ii of
part i, section 7 of chapter i; also Clinton's Fasti Hellenici,
vol. ii, p. 293. For Usher, see his Annales Vet. et Nov. Test.,
London, 1650. For Pearson, see his Exposition of the Creed,
sixth edition, London, 1692, pp. 59 et seq. For Marsham, see his
Chronicus Canon Aegypticus, Ebraicus, Graecus, et Disquisitiones,
London, 1672. For La Peyrere, see especially Quatrefarges, in
Revue de Deux Mondes for 1861; also other chapters in this work.
For Jackson, Hales, and others, see Wallace's True Age of the
World. For Wilkinson, see various editions of his work on Egypt.
For Vignolles, see Leblois, vol. iii, p. 617. As to the
declaration in favor of the recent origin of man, sanctioned by
Popes Gregory XIII and Urban VIII, see Strachius, cited in
Wallace, p. 97. For the general agreement of Church authorities,
as stated, see L'Art de Verifier les Dates, as above. As to
difficulties of scriptural chronology, see Ewald, History of
Israel, English translation, London, 1883, pp. 204 et seq.


But all investigators were not so docile as Wilkinson, and there
soon came a new train of scientific thought which rapidly
undermined all this theological chronology. Not to speak of
other noted men, we have early in the present century Young,
Champollion, and Rosellini, beginning a new epoch in the study of
the Egyptian monuments. Nothing could be more cautious than
their procedure, but the evidence was soon overwhelming in favour
of a vastly longer existence of man in the Nile Valley than could
be made to agree with even the longest duration then allowed by
theologians. For, in spite of all the suppleness of men like
Wilkinson, it became evident that, whatever system of scriptural
chronology was adopted, Egypt was the seat of a flourishing
civilization at a period before the "Flood of Noah," and that no
such flood had ever interrupted it. This was bad, but worse
remained behind: it was soon clear that the civilization of
Egypt began earlier than the time assigned for the creation of
man, even according to the most liberal of the sacred

As time went on, this became more and more evident. The long
duration assigned to human civilization in the fragments of
Manetho, the Egyptian scribe at Thebes in the third century B.C.,
was discovered to be more accordant with truth than the
chronologies of the great theologians; and, as the present
century has gone on, scientific results have been reached
absolutely fatal to the chronological view based by the universal
Church upon Scripture for nearly two thousand years.

As is well known, the first of the Egyptian kings of whom mention
is made upon the monuments of the Nile Valley is Mena, or Menes.
Manetho had given a statement, according to which Mena must have
lived nearly six thousand years before the Christian era. This
was looked upon for a long time as utterly inadmissible, as it
was so clearly at variance with the chronology of our own sacred
books; but, as time went on, large fragments of the original
work of Manetho were more carefully studied and distinguished
from corrupt transcriptions, the lists of kings at Karnak,
Sacquarah, and the two temples at Abydos were brought to light,
and the lists of court architects were discovered. Among all
these monuments the scholar who visits Egypt is most impressed by
the sculptured tablets giving the lists of kings. Each shows the
monarch of the period doing homage to the long line of his
ancestors. Each of these sculptured monarchs has near him a
tablet bearing his name. That great care was always taken to
keep these imposing records correct is certain; the loyalty of
subjects, the devotion of priests, and the family pride of kings
were all combined in this; and how effective this care was, is
seen in the fact that kings now known to be usurpers are
carefully omitted. The lists of court architects, extending over
the period from Seti to Darius, throw a flood of light over the
other records.

Comparing, then, all these sources, and applying an average from
the lengths of the long series of well-known reigns to the reigns
preceding, the most careful and cautious scholars have satisfied
themselves that the original fragments of Manetho represent the
work of a man honest and well informed, and, after making all
allowances for discrepancies and the overlapping of reigns, it
has become clear that the period known as the reign of Mena must
be fixed at more than three thousand years B.C. In this the
great Egyptologists of our time concur. Mariette, the eminent
French authority, puts the date at 5004 B.C.; Brugsch, the
leading German authority, puts it at about 4500 B.C.; and
Meyer, the latest and most cautious of the historians of
antiquity, declares 3180 B.C. the latest possible date that can
be assigned it. With these dates the foremost English
authorities, Sayce and Flinders Petrie, substantially agree.
This view is also confirmed on astronomical grounds by Mr.
Lockyer, the Astronomer Royal. We have it, then, as the result
of a century of work by the most acute and trained Egyptologists,
and with the inscriptions upon the temples and papyri before
them, both of which are now read with as much facility as many
medieval manuscripts, that the reign of Mena must be placed more
than five thousand years ago.

But the significance of this conclusion can not be fully
understood until we bring into connection with it some other
facts revealed by the Egyptian monuments.

The first of these is that which struck Sir Walter Raleigh, that,
even in the time of the first dynasties in the Nile Valley, a
high civilization had already been developed. Take, first, man
himself: we find sculptured upon the early monuments types of
the various races--Egyptians, Israelites, negroes, and
Libyans--as clearly distinguishable in these paintings and
sculptures of from four to six thousand years ago as the same
types are at the present day. No one can look at these
sculptures upon the Egyptian monuments, or even the drawings of
them, as given by Lepsius or Prisse d' Avennes, without being
convinced that they indicate, even at that remote period, a
difference of races so marked that long previous ages must have
been required to produce it.

The social condition of Egypt revealed in these early monuments
of art forces us to the same conclusion. Those earliest
monuments show that a very complex society had even then been
developed. We not only have a separation between the priestly
and military orders, but agriculturists, manufacturers, and
traders, with a whole series of subdivisions in each of these
classes. The early tombs show us sculptured and painted
representations of a daily life which even then had been
developed into a vast wealth and variety of grades, forms, and

Take, next, the political and military condition. One fact out
of many reveals a policy which must have been the result of long
experience. Just as now, at the end of the nineteenth century,
the British Government, having found that they can not rely upon
the native Egyptians for the protection of the country, are
drilling the negroes from the interior of Africa as soldiers, so
the celebrated inscription of Prince Una, as far back as the
sixth dynasty, speaks of the Maksi or negroes levied and drilled
by tens of thousands for the Egyptian army.

Take, next, engineering. Here we find very early operations in
the way of canals, dikes, and great public edifices, so bold in
conception and thorough in execution as to fill our greatest
engineers of these days with astonishment. The quarrying,
conveyance, cutting, jointing, and polishing of the enormous
blocks in the interior of the Great Pyramid alone are the marvel
of the foremost stone-workers of our century.

As regards architecture, we find not only the pyramids, which
date from the very earliest period of Egyptian history, and which
are to this hour the wonder of the world for size, for boldness,
for exactness, and for skilful contrivance, but also the temples,
with long ranges of colossal columns wrought in polished granite,
with wonderful beauty of ornamentation, with architraves and
roofs vast in size and exquisite in adjustment, which by their
proportions tax the imagination, and lead the beholder to ask
whether all this can be real.

As to sculpture, we have not only the great Sphinx of Gizeh, so
marvellous in its boldness and dignity, dating from the very
first period of Egyptian history, but we have ranges of sphinxes,
heroic statues, and bas-reliefs, showing that even in the early
ages this branch of art had reached an amazing development.

As regards the perfection of these, Lubke, the most eminent
German authority on plastic art, referring to the early works in
the tombs about Memphis, declares that, "as monuments of the
period of the fourth dynasty, they are an evidence of the high
perfection to which the sculpture of the Egyptians had attained."
Brugsch declares that "every artistic production of those early
days, whether picture, writing, or sculpture, bears the stamp of
the highest perfection in art." Maspero, the most eminent French
authority in this field, while expressing his belief that the
Sphinx was sculptured even before the time of Mena, declares that
"the art which conceived and carved this prodigious statue was a
finished art--an art which had attained self-mastery and was sure
of its effects"; while, among the more eminent English
authorities, Sayce tells us that "art is at its best in the age
of the pyramid-builders," and Sir James Fergusson declares, "We
are startled to find Egyptian art nearly as perfect in the oldest
periods as in any of the later."

The evidence as to the high development of Egyptian sculpture in
the earlier dynasties becomes every day more overwhelming. What
exquisite genius the early Egyptian sculptors showed in their
lesser statues is known to all who have seen those most precious
specimens in the museum at Cairo, which were wrought before the
conventional type was adopted in obedience to religious

In decorative and especially in ceramic art, as early as the
fourth and fifth dynasties, we have vases, cups, and other
vessels showing exquisite beauty of outline and a general sense
of form almost if not quite equal to Etruscan and Grecian work of
the best periods.

Take, next, astronomy. Going back to the very earliest period of
Egyptian civilization, we find that the four sides of the Great
Pyramid are adjusted to the cardinal points with the utmost
precision. "The day of the equinox can be taken by observing the
sun set across the face of the pyramid, and the neighbouring
Arabs adjust their astronomical dates by its shadow." Yet this
is but one out of many facts which prove that the Egyptians, at
the earliest period of which their monuments exist, had arrived
at knowledge and skill only acquired by long ages of observation
and thought. Mr. Lockyer, Astronomer Royal of Great Britain, has
recently convinced himself, after careful examination of various
ruined temples at Thebes and elsewhere, that they were placed
with reference to observations of stars. To state his conclusion
in his own words: "There seems a very high probability that
three thousand, and possibly four thousand, years before Christ
the Egyptians had among them men with some knowledge of
astronomy, and that six thousand years ago the course of the sun
through the year was practically very well known, and methods had
been invented by means of which in time it might be better known;
and that, not very long after that, they not only considered
questions relating to the sun, but began to take up other
questions relating to the position and movement of the stars."

The same view of the antiquity of man in the Nile valley is
confirmed by philologists. To use the words of Max Duncker:
"The oldest monuments of Egypt--and they are the oldest monuments
in the world--exhibit the Egyptian in possession of the art of
writing." It is found also, by the inscriptions of the early
dynasties, that the Egyptian language had even at that early time
been developed in all essential particulars to the highest point
it ever attained. What long periods it must have required for
such a development every scholar in philology can imagine.

As regards medical science, we have the Berlin papyrus, which,
although of a later period, refers with careful specification to
a medical literature of the first dynasty.

As regards archaeology, the earliest known inscriptions point to
still earlier events and buildings, indicating a long sequence in
previous history.

As to all that pertains to the history of civilization, no man of
fair and open mind can go into the museums of Cairo or the Louvre
or the British Museum and look at the monuments of those earlier
dynasties without seeing in them the results of a development in
art, science, laws, customs, and language, which must have
required a vast period before the time of Mena. And this
conclusion is forced upon us all the more invincibly when we
consider the slow growth of ideas in the earlier stages of
civilization as compared with the later--a slowness of growth
which has kept the natives of many parts of the world in that
earliest civilization to this hour. To this we must add the fact
that Egyptian civilization was especially immobile: its
development into castes is but one among many evidences that it
was the very opposite of a civilization developed rapidly.

As to the length of the period before the time of Mena, there is,
of course, nothing exact. Manetho gives lists of great
personages before that first dynasty, and these extend over
twenty-four thousand years. Bunsen, one of the most learned of
Christian scholars, declares that not less than ten thousand
years were necessary for the development of civilization up to
the point where we find it in Mena's time. No one can claim
precision for either of these statements, but they are valuable
as showing the impression of vast antiquity made upon the most
competent judges by the careful study of those remains: no
unbiased judge can doubt that an immensely long period of years
must have been required for the development of civilization up to
the state in which we there find it.

The investigations in the bed of the Nile confirm these views.
That some unwarranted conclusions have at times been announced is
true; but the fact remains that again and again rude pottery and
other evidences of early stages of civilization have been found
in borings at places so distant from each other, and at depths so
great, that for such a range of concurring facts, considered in
connection with the rate of earthy deposit by the Nile, there is
no adequate explanation save the existence of man in that valley
thousands on thousands of years before the longest time admitted
by our sacred chronologists.

Nor have these investigations been of a careless character.
Between the years 1851 and 1854, Mr. Horner, an extremely
cautious English geologist, sank ninety-six shafts in four rows
at intervals of eight English miles, at right angles to the Nile,
in the neighbourhood of Memphis. In these pottery was brought up
from various depths, and beneath the statue of Rameses II at
Memphis from a depth of thirty-nine feet. At the rate of the
Nile deposit a careful estimate has declared this to indicate a
period of over eleven thousand years. So eminent a German
authority, in geography as Peschel characterizes objections to
such deductions as groundless. However this may be, the general
results of these investigations, taken in connection with the
other results of research, are convincing.

And, finally, as if to make assurance doubly sure, a series of
archaeologists of the highest standing, French, German, English,
and American, have within the past twenty years discovered relics
of a savage period, of vastly earlier date than the time of Mena,
prevailing throughout Egypt. These relics have been discovered
in various parts of the country, from Cairo to Luxor, in great
numbers. They are the same sort of prehistoric implements which
prove to us the early existence of man in so many other parts of
the world at a geological period so remote that the figures given
by our sacred chronologists are but trivial. The last and most
convincing of these discoveries, that of flint implements in the
drift, far down below the tombs of early kings at Thebes, and
upon high terraces far above the present bed of the Nile, will be
referred to later.

But it is not in Egypt alone that proofs are found of the utter
inadequacy of the entire chronological system derived from our
sacred books. These results of research in Egypt are strikingly
confirmed by research in Assyria and Babylonia. Prof. Sayce
exhibits various proofs of this. To use his own words regarding
one of these proofs: "On the shelves of the British Museum you
may see huge sun-dried bricks, on which are stamped the names and
titles of kings who erected or repaired the temples where they
have been found....They must...have reigned before the time
when, according to the margins of our Bibles, the Flood of Noah
was covering the earth and reducing such bricks as these to their
primeval slime."

This conclusion was soon placed beyond a doubt. The lists of
king's and collateral inscriptions recovered from the temples of
the great valley between the Tigris and Euphrates, and the
records of astronomical observations in that region, showed that
there, too, a powerful civilization had grown up at a period far
earlier than could be made consistent with our sacred chronology.
The science of Assyriology was thus combined with Egyptology to
furnish one more convincing proof that, precious as are the moral
and religious truths in our sacred books and the historical
indications which they give us, these truths and indications are
necessarily inclosed in a setting of myth and legend.[184]

[184] As to Manetho, see, for a very full account of his
relations to other chronologists, Palmer, Egyptian Chronicles,
vol. i, chap. ii. For a more recent and readable account, see
Brugsch, Egypt under the Pharaohs, English edition, London, 1879,
chap. iv. For lists of kings at Abydos and elsewhere, also the
lists of architects, see Brugsch, Palmer, Mariette, and others;
also illustrations in Lepsius. For proofs that the dynasties
given were consecutive and not contemporeaneous, as was once so
fondly argued by those who tried to save Archbishop Usher's
chronology, see Mariette; also Sayce's Herodotus, appendix, p.
316. For the various race types given on early monuments, see
the coloured engravings in Lepsius, Denkmaler; also Prisse
d'Avennes, and the frontpiece in the English edition of Brugsch;
see also statement regarding the same subject in Tylor,
Anthropology, chap. i. For the fulness of development of
Egyptian civilization in the earliest dynasties, see Rawlinson's
Egypt, London, 1881, chap. xiii; also Brugsch and other works
cited. For the perfection of Egyptian engineering, I rely not
merely upon my own observation, but on what is far more
important, the testimony of my friend the Hon. J. G. Batterson,
probably the largest and most experienced worker in granite in
the United States, who acknowledges, from personal observation,
that the early Egyptian work is, in boldness and perfection, far
beyond anything known since, and a source of perpetual wonder to
him. As to the perfection of Egyptian architecture, see very
striking statements in Fergusson, History of Architecture, book
i, chap. i. As to the pyramids, showing a very high grade of
culture already reached under the earliest dynasties, see Lubke,
Gesch. der Arch., book i. For Sayce's views, see his Herodotus,
appendix, p. 348. As to sculpture, see for representations
photographs published by the Boulak Museum, and such works as the
Description de l'Egypte, Lepsius's Denkmaler, and Prisse
d'Avennes; see also a most small work, easy of access, Maspero,
Archeology, translated by Miss A. B. Edwards, New York and
London, 1887, chaps. i and ii. See especially in Prisse, vol.
ii, the statue of Chafre the Scribe, and the group of "Tea" and
his wife. As to the artistic value of the Sphinx, see Maspero,
as above, pp. 202, 203. See also similar ideas in Lubke's
History of Sculpture, vol. i, p. 24. As to astronomical
knowledge evidenced by the Great Pyramid, see Tylor, as above, p.
21; also Lockyer, On Some Points in the Early History of
Astronomy, in Nature for 1891, and especially in the issues of
June 4th and July 2d; also his Dawn of Astronomy, passim. For a
recent and conservative statement as to the date of Mena, see
Flinders Petrie, History of Egypt, London, 1894, chap. ii. For
delineations of vases, etc., showing Grecian proportion and
beauty of form under the fourth and fifth dynasties, see Prisse,
vol. ii, Art Industriel. As to the philological question,
and the development of language in Egypt, with the hieroglyphic
sytem of writing, see Rawlinson's Egypt, London, 1881, chap. xii;
also Lenormanr; also Max Duncker, Geschichte des Alterthums,
Abbott's translation, 1877. As to the medical papyrus of Berlin,
see Brugsch, vol. i, p. 58, but especially the Papyrus Ebers. As
to the corruption of later copies of Manetho and fidelity of
originals as attested by the monuments, see Brugsch, chap. iv.
On the accuracy of the present Egyptian chronology as regards
long periods, see ibid, vol. i, p. 32. As to the pottery found
deep in the Nile and the value of Horner's discovery, see
Peschel, Races of Man, New York, 1876, pp. 42-44. For succinct
statement, see also Laing, Problems of the Future, p. 94. For
confirmatory proofs from Assyriology, see Sayce, Lectures on the
Religion of the Babylonians (Hibbert Lectures for 1887), London,
1887, introductory chapter, and especially pp. 21-25. See also
Laing, Human Origins, chap. ii, for an excellent summary. For an
account of flint implements recently found in gravel terraces
fifteen hundred feet above the present level of the Nile, and
showing evidences of an age vastly greater even than those dug
out of the gravel at Thebes, see article by Flinders Petrie in
London Times of April 18th, 1895.




While the view of chronology based upon the literal acceptance of
Scripture texts was thus shaken by researches in Egypt, another
line of observation and thought was slowly developed, even more
fatal to the theological view.

From a very early period there had been dug from the earth, in
various parts of the world, strangely shaped masses of stone,
some rudely chipped, some polished: in ancient times the larger
of these were very often considered as thunderbolts, the smaller
as arrows, and all of them as weapons which had been hurled by
the gods and other supernatural personages. Hence a sort of
sacredness attached to them. In Chaldea, they were built into
the wall of temples; in Egypt, they were strung about the necks
of the dead. In India, fine specimens are to this day seen upon
altars, receiving prayers and sacrifices.

Naturally these beliefs were brought into the Christian mythology
and adapted to it. During the Middle Ages many of these
well-wrought stones were venerated as weapons, which during the
"war in heaven" had been used in driving forth Satan and his
hosts; hence in the eleventh century an Emperor of the East sent
to the Emperor of the West a "heaven axe"; and in the twelfth
century a Bishop of Rennes asserted the value of thunder-stones
as a divinely- appointed means of securing success in battle,
safety on the sea, security against thunder, and immunity from
unpleasant dreams. Even as late as the seventeenth century a
French ambassador brought a stone hatchet, which still exists in
the museum at Nancy, as a present to the Prince-Bishop of Verdun,
and claimed for it health-giving virtues.

In the last years of the sixteenth century Michael Mercati tried
to prove that the "thunder-stones" were weapons or implements of
early races of men; but from some cause his book was not
published until the following century, when other thinkers had
begun to take up the same idea, and then it had to contend with a
theory far more accordant with theologic modes of reasoning in
science. This was the theory of the learned Tollius, who in 1649
told the world that these chipped or smoothed stones were
"generated in the sky by a fulgurous exhalation conglobed in a
cloud by the circumposed humour."

But about the beginning of the eighteenth century a fact of great
importance was quietly established. In the year 1715 a large
pointed weapon of black flint was found in contact with the bones
of an elephant, in a gravel bed near Gray's Inn Lane, in London.
The world in general paid no heed to this: if the attention of
theologians was called to it, they dismissed it summarily with a
reference to the Deluge of Noah; but the specimen was labelled,
the circumstances regarding it were recorded, and both specimen
and record carefully preserved.

In 1723 Jussieu addressed the French Academy on The Origin and
Uses of Thunder-stones. He showed that recent travellers from
various parts of the world had brought a number of weapons and
other implements of stone to France, and that they were
essentially similar to what in Europe had been known as
"thunder-stones." A year later this fact was clinched into the
scientific mind of France by the Jesuit Lafitau, who published a
work showing the similarity between the customs of aborigines
then existing in other lands and those of the early inhabitants
of Europe. So began, in these works of Jussieu and Lafitau, the
science of Comparative Ethnography.

But it was at their own risk and peril that thinkers drew from
these discoveries any conclusions as to the antiquity of man.
Montesquieu, having ventured to hint, in an early edition of his
Persian Letters, that the world might be much older than had
been generally supposed, was soon made to feel danger both to his
book and to himself, so that in succeeding editions he suppressed
the passage.

In 1730 Mahudel presented a paper to the French Academy of
Inscriptions on the so-called "thunder-stones," and also
presented a series of plates which showed that these were stone
implements, which must have been used at an early period in human

In 1778 Buffon, in his Epoques de la Nature, intimated his
belief that "thunder-stones" were made by early races of men;
but he did not press this view, and the reason for his reserve
was obvious enough: he had already one quarrel with the
theologians on his hands, which had cost him dear--public
retraction and humiliation. His declaration, therefore,
attracted little notice.

In the year 1800 another fact came into the minds of thinking men
in England. In that year John Frere presented to the London
Society of Antiquaries sundry flint implements found in the clay
beds near Hoxne: that they were of human make was certain, and,
in view of the undisturbed depths in which they were found, the
theory was suggested that the men who made them must have lived
at a very ancient geological epoch; yet even this discovery and
theory passed like a troublesome dream, and soon seemed to be

About twenty years later Dr. Buckland published a discussion of
the subject, in the light of various discoveries in the drift and
in caves. It received wide attention, but theology was soothed
by his temporary concession that these striking relics of human
handiwork, associated with the remains of various extinct
animals, were proofs of the Deluge of Noah.

In 1823 Boue, of the Vienna Academy of Sciences, showed to Cuvier
sundry human bones found deep in the alluvial deposits of the
upper Rhine, and suggested that they were of an early geological
period; this Cuvier virtually, if not explicitly, denied. Great
as he was in his own field, he was not a great geologist; he, in
fact, led geology astray for many years. Moreover, he lived in a
time of reaction; it was the period of the restored Bourbons, of
the Voltairean King Louis XVIII, governing to please orthodoxy.
Boue's discovery was, therefore, at first opposed, then enveloped
in studied silence.

Cuvier evidently thought, as Voltaire had felt under similar
circumstances, that "among wolves one must howl a little"; and
his leading disciple, Elie de Beaumont, who succeeded, him in the
sway over geological science in France, was even more opposed to
the new view than his great master had been. Boue's discoveries
were, therefore, apparently laid to rest forever.[185]

[185] For the general history of early views regarding stone
implements, see the first chapters in Cartailhac, La France
Prehistorique; also Jolie, L'Homme avant les Metaux; also Lyell,
Lubbock, and Evans. For lightning-stones in China and elsewhere,
see citation from a Chinese encyclopedia of 1662, in Tylor, Early
History of Mankind, p. 209. On the universality of this belief,
on the surviving use of stone implements even into civilized
times, and on their manufacture to-day, see ibid., chapter viii.
For the treatment of Boue's discovery, see especially Morillet,
Le Prehistorique, Paris, 1885, p. 11. For the suppression of the
passage in Montesquieu's Persian Letters, see Letter 113, cited
in Schlosser's History of the Eighteenth Century (English
translation), vol. i, p. 135.

In 1825 Kent's Cavern, near Torquay, was explored by the Rev.
Mr. McEnery, a Roman Catholic clergyman, who seems to have been
completely overawed by orthodox opinion in England and elsewhere;
for, though he found human bones and implements mingled with
remains of extinct animals, he kept his notes in manuscript, and
they were only brought to light more than thirty years later by
Mr. Vivian.

The coming of Charles X, the last of the French Bourbons, to the
throne, made the orthodox pressure even greater. It was the
culmination of the reactionary period--the time in France when a
clerical committee, sitting at the Tuileries, took such measures
as were necessary to hold in check all science that was not
perfectly "safe"; the time in Austria when Kaiser Franz made his
famous declaration to sundry professors, that what he wanted of
them was simply to train obedient subjects, and that those who
did not make this their purpose would be dismissed; the time in
Germany when Nicholas of Russia and the princelings and ministers
under his control, from the King of Prussia downward, put forth
all their might in behalf of "scriptural science"; the time in
Italy when a scientific investigator, arriving at any conclusion
distrusted by the Church, was sure of losing his place and in
danger of losing his liberty; the time in England when what
little science was taught was held in due submission to
Archdeacon Paley; the time in the United States when the first
thing essential in science was, that it be adjusted to the ideas
of revival exhorters.

Yet men devoted to scientific truth laboured on; and in 1828
Tournal, of Narbonne, discovered in the cavern of Bize specimens
of human industry, with a fragment of a human skeleton, among
bones of extinct animals. In the following year Christol
published accounts of his excavations in the caverns of Gard; he
had found in position, and under conditions which forbade the
idea of after-disturbance, human remains mixed with bones of the
extinct hyena of the early Quaternary period. Little general
notice was taken of this, for the reactionary orthodox atmosphere
involved such discoveries in darkness.

But in the French Revolution of 1830 the old politico-theological
system collapsed: Charles X and his advisers fled for their
lives; the other continental monarchs got glimpses of new light;
the priesthood in charge of education were put on their good
behaviour for a time, and a better era began.

Under the constitutional monarchy of the house of Orleans in
France and Belgium less attention was therefore paid by
Government to the saving of souls; and we have in rapid
succession new discoveries of remains of human industry, and even
of human skeletons so mingled with bones of extinct animals as to
give additional proofs that the origin of man was at a period
vastly earlier than any which theologians had dreamed of.

A few years later the reactionary clerical influence against
science in this field rallied again. Schmerling in 1833 had
explored a multitude of caverns in Belgium, especially at Engis
and Engihoul, and had found human skulls and bones closely
associated with bones of extinct animals, such as the cave bear,
hyena, elephant, and rhinoceros, while mingled with these were
evidences of human workmanship in the shape of chipped flint
implements; discoveries of a similar sort had been made by De
Serres in France and by Lund in Brazil; but, at least as far as
continental Europe was concerned, these discoveries were received
with much coolness both by Catholic leaders of opinion in France
and Belgium and by Protestant leaders in England and Holland.
Schmerling himself appears to have been overawed, and gave forth
a sort of apologetic theory, half scientific, half theologic,
vainly hoping to satisfy the clerical side.

Nor was it much better in England. Sir Charles Lyell, so devoted
a servant of prehistoric research thirty years later, was still
holding out against it on the scientific side; and, as to the
theological side, it was the period when that great churchman,
Dean Cockburn, was insulting geologists from the pulpit of York
Minster, and the Rev. Mellor Brown denouncing geology as "a
black art," "a forbidden province" and when, in America, Prof.
Moses Stuart and others like him were belittling the work of
Benjamin Silliman and Edward Hitchcock.

In 1840 Godwin Austin presented to the Royal Geological Society
an account of his discoveries in Kent's Cavern, near Torquay, and
especially of human bones and implements mingled with bones of
the elephant, rhinoceros, cave bear, hyena, and other extinct
animals; yet this memoir, like that of McEnery fifteen years
before, found an atmosphere so unfavourable that it was not


At the middle of the nineteenth century came the beginning of a
new epoch in science--an epoch when all these earlier discoveries
were to be interpreted by means of investigations in a different
field: for, in 1847, a man previously unknown to the world at
large, Boucher de Perthes, published at Paris the first volume of
his work on Celtic and Antediluvian Antiquities, and in this he
showed engravings of typical flint implements and weapons, of
which he had discovered thousands upon thousands in the high
drift beds near Abbeville, in northern France.

The significance of this discovery was great indeed--far greater
than Boucher himself at first supposed. The very title of his
book showed that he at first regarded these implements and
weapons as having belonged to men overwhelmed at the Deluge of
Noah; but it was soon seen that they were something very
different from proofs of the literal exactness of Genesis: for
they were found in terraces at great heights above the river
Somme, and, under any possible theory having regard to fact, must
have been deposited there at a time when the river system of
northern France was vastly different from anything known within
the historic period. The whole discovery indicated a series of
great geological changes since the time when these implements
were made, requiring cycles of time compared to which the space
allowed by the orthodox chronologists was as nothing.

His work was the result of over ten years of research and
thought. Year after year a force of men under his direction had
dug into these high-terraced gravel deposits of the river Somme,
and in his book he now gave, in the first full form, the results
of his labour. So far as France was concerned, he was met at
first by what he calls "a conspiracy of silence," and then by a
contemptuous opposition among orthodox scientists, at the head of
whom stood Elie de Beaumont.

This heavy, sluggish opposition seemed immovable: nothing that
Boucher could do or say appeared to lighten the pressure of the
orthodox theological opinion behind it; not even his belief that
these fossils were remains of men drowned at the Deluge of Noah,
and that they were proofs of the literal exactness of Genesis
seemed to help the matter. His opponents felt instinctively that
such discoveries boded danger to the accepted view, and they were
right: Boucher himself soon saw the folly of trying to account
for them by the orthodox theory.

And it must be confessed that not a little force was added to the
opposition by certain characteristics of Boucher de Perthes
himself. Gifted, far-sighted, and vigorous as he was, he was his
own worst enemy. Carried away by his own discoveries, he jumped
to the most astounding conclusions. The engravings in the later
volume of his great work, showing what he thought to be human
features and inscriptions upon some of the flint implements, are
worthy of a comic almanac; and at the National Museum of
Archaeology at St. Germain, beneath the shelves bearing the
remains which he discovered, which mark the beginning of a new
epoch in science, are drawers containing specimens hardly worthy
of a penny museum, but from which he drew the most unwarranted
inferences as to the language, religion, and usages of
prehistoric man.

Boucher triumphed none the less. Among his bitter opponents at
first was Dr. Rigollot, who in 1855, searching earnestly for
materials to refute the innovator, dug into the deposits of St.
Acheul--and was converted: for he found implements similar to
those of Abbeville, making still more certain the existence of
man during the Drift period. So, too, Gaudry a year later made
similar discoveries.

But most important was the evidence of the truth which now came
from other parts of France and from other countries. The French
leaders in geological science had been held back not only by awe
of Cuvier but by recollections of Scheuchzer. Ridicule has
always been a serious weapon in France, and the ridicule which
finally overtook the supporters of the attempt of Scheuchzer,
Mazurier, and others, to square geology with Genesis, was still
remembered. From the great body of French geologists, therefore,
Boucher secured at first no aid. His support came from the other
side of the Channel. The most eminent English geologists, such
as Falconer, Prestwich, and Lyell, visited the beds at Abbeville
and St. Acheul, convinced themselves that the discoveries of
Boucher, Rigollot, and their colleagues were real, and then
quietly but firmly told England the truth.

And now there appeared a most effective ally in France. The
arguments used against Boucher de Perthes and some of the other
early investigators of bone caves had been that the implements
found might have been washed about and turned over by great
floods, and therefore that they might be of a recent period; but
in 1861 Edward Lartet published an account of his own excavations
at the Grotto of Aurignac, and the proof that man had existed in
the time of the Quaternary animals was complete. This grotto had
been carefully sealed in prehistoric times by a stone at its
entrance; no interference from disturbing currents of water had
been possible; and Lartet found, in place, bones of eight out of
nine of the main species of animals which characterize the
Quaternary period in Europe; and upon them marks of cutting
implements, and in the midst of them coals and ashes.

Close upon these came the excavations at Eyzies by Lartet and his
English colleague, Christy. In both these men there was a
carefulness in making researches and a sobriety in stating
results which converted many of those who had been repelled by
the enthusiasm of Boucher de Perthes. The two colleagues found
in the stony deposits made by the water dropping from the roof of
the cave at Eyzies the bones of numerous animals extinct or
departed to arctic regions--one of these a vertebra of a reindeer
with a flint lance-head still fast in it, and with these were
found evidences of fire.

Discoveries like these were thoroughly convincing; yet there
still remained here and there gainsayers in the supposed interest
of Scripture, and these, in spite of the convincing array of
facts, insisted that in some way, by some combination of
circumstances, these bones of extinct animals of vastly remote
periods might have been brought into connection with all these
human bones and implements of human make in all these different
places, refusing to admit that these ancient relics of men and
animals were of the same period. Such gainsayers virtually
adopted the reasoning of quaint old Persons, who, having
maintained that God created the world "about five thousand sixe
hundred and odde yeares agoe," added, "And if they aske what God
was doing before this short number of yeares, we answere with St.
Augustine replying to such curious questioners, that He was
framing Hell for them." But a new class of discoveries came to
silence this opposition. At La Madeleine in France, at the
Kessler cave in Switzerland, and at various other places, were
found rude but striking carvings and engravings on bone and stone
representing sundry specimens of those long-vanished species;
and these specimens, or casts of them, were soon to be seen in
all the principal museums. They showed the hairy mammoth, the
cave bear, and various other animals of the Quaternary period,
carved rudely but vigorously by contemporary men; and, to
complete the significance of these discoveries, travellers
returning from the icy regions of North America brought similar
carvings of animals now existing in those regions, made by the
Eskimos during their long arctic winters to-day.[186]

[186] For the explorations in Belgium, see Dupont, Le Temps
Prehistorique en Belgique. For the discoveries by McEnery and
Godwin Austin, see Lubbock, Prehistoric Times, London, 1869,
chap. x; also Cartailhac, Joly, and others above cited. For
Boucher de Perthes, see his Antiquites Celtiques et
Antediluviennes, Paris, 1847-'64, vol. iii, pp. 526 et seq. For
sundry extravagances of Boucher de Perthes, see Reinach,
Description raisonne du Musee de St.-Germain-en-Laye, Paris,
1889, vol. i, pp. 16 et seq. For the mixture of sound and absurd
results in Boucher's work, see Cartailhac as above, p. 19.
Boucher had published in 1838 a work entitled De la Creation, but
it seems to have dropped dead from the press. For the attempts
of Scheuchzer to reconcile geology and Genesis by means of the
Homo diluvii testis, and similar "diluvian fossils," see the
chapter on Geology in this series. The original specimens of
these prehistoric engravings upon bone and stone may best be seen
at the Archaeological Museum of St.-Germain and the British
Museum. For engravings of some of the most recent, see
especially Dawkin's Early Man in Britain, chap. vii, and the
Description du Musee de St.-Germain. As to the Kessler etchings
and their antiquity, see D. G. Brinton, in Science, August 12,
1892. For comparison of this prehistoric work with that produced
to-day by the Eskimos and others, see Lubbock, Prehistoric Times,
chapters x and xiv. For very striking exhibitions of this same
artistic gift in a higher field to-day by descendants of the
barbarian tribes of northern America, see the very remarkable
illustrations in Rink, Danish Greenland, London, 1877, especially
those in chap. xiv.

As a result of these discoveries and others like them, showing
that man was not only contemporary with long-extinct animals of
past geological epochs, but that he had already developed into a
stage of culture above pure savagery, the tide of thought began
to turn. Especially was this seen in 1863, when Lyell published
the first edition of his Geological Evidence of the Antiquity of
Man; and the fact that he had so long opposed the new ideas gave
force to the clear and conclusive argument which led him to
renounce his early scientific beliefs.

Research among the evidences of man's existence in the early
Quaternary, and possibly in the Tertiary period, was now pressed
forward along the whole line. In 1864 Gabriel Mortillet founded
his review devoted to this subject; and in 1865 the first of a
series of scientific congresses devoted to such researches was
held in Italy. These investigations went on vigorously in all
parts of France and spread rapidly to other countries. The
explorations which Dupont began in 1864, in the caves of Belgium,
gave to the museum at Brussels eighty thousand flint implements,
forty thousand bones of animals of the Quaternary period, and a
number of human skulls and bones found mingled with these
remains. From Germany, Italy, Spain, America, India, and Egypt
similar results were reported.

Especially noteworthy were the further explorations of the caves
and drift throughout the British Islands. The discovery by
Colonel Wood, In 1861, of flint tools in the same strata with
bones of the earlier forms of the rhinoceros, was but typical of
many. A thorough examination of the caverns of Brixham and
Torquay, by Pengelly and others, made it still more evident that
man had existed in the early Quaternary period. The existence of
a period before the Glacial epoch or between different glacial
epochs in England, when the Englishman was a savage, using rude
stone tools, was then fully ascertained, and, what was more
significant, there were clearly shown a gradation and evolution
even in the history of that period. It was found that this
ancient Stone epoch showed progress and development. In the
upper layers of the caves, with remains of the reindeer, who,
although he has migrated from these regions, still exists in more
northern climates, were found stone implements revealing some
little advance in civilization; next below these, sealed up in
the stalagmite, came, as a rule, another layer, in which the
remains of reindeer were rare and those of the mammoth more
frequent, the implements found in this stratum being less
skilfully made than those in the upper and more recent layers;
and, finally, in the lowest levels, near the floors of these
ancient caverns, with remains of the cave bear and others of the
most ancient extinct animals, were found stone implements
evidently of a yet ruder and earlier stage of human progress. No
fairly unprejudiced man can visit the cave and museum at Torquay
without being convinced that there were a gradation and an
evolution in these beginnings of human civilization. The
evidence is complete; the masses of breccia taken from the cave,
with the various soils, implements, and bones carefully kept in
place, put this progress beyond a doubt.

All this indicated a great antiquity for the human race, but in
it lay the germs of still another great truth, even more
important and more serious in its consequences to the older
theologic view, which will be discussed in the following chapter.

But new evidences came in, showing a yet greater antiquity of
man. Remains of animals were found in connection with human
remains, which showed not only that man was living in times more
remote than the earlier of the new investigators had dared dream,
but that some of these early periods of his existence must have
been of immense length, embracing climatic changes betokening
different geological periods; for with remains of fire and human
implements and human bones were found not only bones of the hairy
mammoth and cave bear, woolly rhinoceros, and reindeer, which
could only have been deposited there in a time of arctic cold,
but bones of the hyena, hippopotamus, sabre-toothed tiger, and
the like, which could only have been deposited when there was in
these regions a torrid climate. The conjunction of these remains
clearly showed that man had lived in England early enough and
long enough to pass through times when there was arctic cold and
times when there was torrid heat; times when great glaciers
stretched far down into England and indeed into the continent,
and times when England had a land connection with the European
continent, and the European continent with Africa, allowing
tropical animals to migrate freely from Africa to the middle
regions of England.

The question of the origin of man at a period vastly earlier than
the sacred chronologists permitted was thus absolutely settled,
but among the questions regarding the existence of man at a
period yet more remote, the Drift period, there was one which for
a time seemed to give the champions of science some difficulty.
The orthodox leaders in the time of Boucher de Perthes, and for a
considerable time afterward, had a weapon of which they made
vigorous use: the statement that no human bones had yet been
discovered in the drift. The supporters of science naturally
answered that few if any other bones as small as those of man had
been found, and that this fact was an additional proof of the
great length of the period since man had lived with the extinct
animals; for, since specimens of human workmanship proved man's
existence as fully as remains of his bones could do, the absence
or even rarity of human and other small bones simply indicated
the long periods of time required for dissolving them away.

Yet Boucher, inspired by the genius he had already shown, and
filled with the spirit of prophecy, declared that human bones
would yet be found in the midst of the flint implements, and in
1863 he claimed that this prophecy had been fulfilled by the
discovery at Moulin Quignon of a portion of a human jaw deep in
the early Quaternary deposits. But his triumph was short-lived:
the opposition ridiculed his discovery; they showed that he had
offered a premium to his workmen for the discovery of human
remains, and they naturally drew the inference that some tricky
labourer had deceived him. The result of this was that the men
of science felt obliged to acknowledge that the Moulin Quignon
discovery was not proven.

But ere long human bones were found in the deposits of the early
Quaternary period, or indeed of an earlier period, in various
other parts of the world, and the question regarding the Moulin
Quignon relic was of little importance.

We have seen that researches regarding the existence of
prehistoric man in England and on the Continent were at first
mainly made in the caverns; but the existence of man in the
earliest Quaternary period was confirmed on both sides of the
English Channel, in a way even more striking, by the close
examination of the drift and early gravel deposits. The results
arrived at by Boucher de Perthes were amply confirmed in England.
Rude stone implements were found in terraces a hundred feet and
more above the levels at which various rivers of Great Britain
now flow, and under circumstances which show that, at the time
when they were deposited, the rivers of Great Britain in many
cases were entirely different from those of the present period,
and formed parts of the river system of the European continent.
Researches in the high terraces above the Thames and the Ouse, as
well as at other points in Great Britain, placed beyond a doubt
the fact that man existed on the British Islands at a time when
they were connected by solid land with the Continent, and made it
clear that, within the period of the existence of man in northern
Europe, a large portion of the British Islands had been sunk to
depths between fifteen hundred and twenty-five hundred feet
beneath the Northern Ocean,--had risen again from the water,--had
formed part of the continent of Europe, and had been in unbroken
connection with Africa, so that elephants, bears, tigers, lions,
the rhinoceros and hippopotamus, of species now mainly extinct,
had left their bones in the same deposits with human implements
as far north as Yorkshire. Moreover, connected with this fact
came in the new conviction, forced upon geologists by the more
careful examination of the earth and its changes, that such
elevations and depressions of Great Britain and other parts of
the world were not necessarily the results of sudden cataclysms,
but generally of slow processes extending through vast cycles of
years--processes such as are now known to be going on in various
parts of the world. Thus it was that the six or seven thousand
years allowed by the most liberal theologians of former times
were seen more and more clearly to be but a mere nothing in the
long succession of ages since the appearance of man.

Confirmation of these results was received from various other
parts of the world. In Africa came the discovery of flint
implements deep in the hard gravel of the Nile Valley at Luxor
and on the high hills behind Esneh. In America the discoveries
at Trenton, N.J., and at various places in Delaware, Ohio,
Minnesota, and elsewhere, along the southern edge of the drift of
the Glacial epochs, clinched the new scientific truth yet more
firmly; and the statement made by an eminent American authority
is, that "man was on this continent when the climate and ice of
Greenland extended to the mouth of New York harbour." The
discoveries of prehistoric remains on the Pacific coast, and
especially in British Columbia, finished completely the last
chance at a reasonable contention by the adherents of the older
view. As to these investigations on the Pacific slope of the
United States, the discoveries of Whitney and others in
California had been so made and announced that the judgment of
scientific men regarding them was suspended until the visit of
perhaps the greatest living authority in his department, Alfred
Russel Wallace, in 1887. He confirmed the view of Prof. Whitney
and others with the statement that "both the actual remains and
works of man found deep under the lava-flows of Pliocene age show
that he existed in the New World at least as early as in the
Old." To this may be added the discoveries in British Columbia,
which prove that, since man existed in these regions, "valleys
have been filled up by drift from the waste of mountains to a
depth in some cases of fifteen hundred feet; this covered by a
succession of tuffs, ashes, and lava-streams from volcanoes long
since extinct, and finally cut down by the present rivers through
beds of solid basalt, and through this accumulation of lavas and
gravels." The immense antiquity of the human remains in the
gravels of the Pacific coast is summed up by a most eminent
English authority and declared to be proved, "first, by the
present river systems being of subsequent date, sometimes cutting
through them and their superincumbent lava-cap to a depth of two
thousand feet; secondly, by the great denudation that has taken
place since they were deposited, for they sometimes lie on the
summits of mountains six thousand feet high; thirdly, by the
fact that the Sierra Nevada has been partly elevated since their

[187] For the general subject of investigations in British
prehistoric remains, see especially Boyd Dawkins, Early Man in
Britain and his Place in the Tertiary Period, London, 1880. For
Boucher de Perthes's account of his discovery of the human jaw at
Moulin Quignon, see his Antiquites Celtiques et Antediluviennes,
vol. iii, p. 542 et seq., Appendix. For an excellent account of
special investigations in the high terraces above the Thames, see
J. Allen Brown, F. G. S., Palaeolithic Man in Northwest
Middlesex, London, 1887. For discoveries in America, and the
citations regarding them, see Wright, the Ice Age in North
America, New York, 1889, chap. xxi. Very remarkable examples of
these specimens from the drift at Trenton may be seen in Prof.
Abbott's collections at the University of Pennsylvania. For an
admirable statement, see Prof. Henry W. Haynes, in Wright, as
above. For proofs of the vast antiquity of man upon the Pacific
coast, cited in the text, see Skertchley, F. G. S., in the
Journal of the Anthropological Institute for 1887, p. 336; see
also Wallace, Darwinism, London, 1890, chap. xv; and for a
striking summary of the evidence that man lived before the last
submergence of Britain, see Brown, Palaeolithic Man in Northwest
Middlesex, as above cited. For proofs that man existed in a
period when the streams were flowing hundreds of feet above their
present level, see ibid., p. 33. As to the evidence of the
action of the sea and of glacial action in the Welsh bone caves
after the remains of extinct animals and weapons of human
workmanship had been deposited, see ibid., p. 198. For a good
statement of the slowness of the submergance and emergence of
Great Britain, with an illustration from the rising of the shore
of Finland, see ibid., pp. 47, 48. As to the flint implements of
Palaeolithic man in the high terraced gravels throughout the
Thames Valley, associated with bones of the mammoth, woolly
rhinoceros, etc., see Brown, p. 31. For still more conclusive
proofs that man inhabited North Wales before the last submergence
of the greater part of the British Islands to a depth of twelve
hundred to fourteen hundred feet, see ibid., pp. 199, 200. For
maps showing the connection of the British river system with that
of the Continent, see Boyd Dawkins, Early Man in Britain, London,
1880, pp. 18, 41, 73; also Lyell, Antiquity of Man, chap. xiv.
As to the long continuance of the early Stone period, see James
Geikie, The Great Ice Age, New York, 1888, p. 402. As to the
impossibility of the animals of the arctic and torrid regions
living together or visiting the same place at different times in
the same year, see Geikie, as above, pp. 421 et seq.; and for a
conclusive argument that the animals of the period assigned lived
in England not since, but before, the Glacial period, or in the
intergalcial period, see ibid., p. 459. For a very candid
statement by perhaps the foremost leader of the theological rear-
guard, admitting the insuperable difficulties presented by the
Old Testament chronology as regards the Creation and the Deluge,
see the Duke of Argyll's Primeval Man, pp. 90-100, and especially
pp. 93, 124. For a succinct statement on the general subject,
see Laing, Problems of the Future, London, 1889, chapters v and
vi. For discoveries of prehistoric implements in India, see
notes by Bruce Foote, F. G. S., in the British Journal of the
Anthropological Institute for 1886 and 1887. For similar
discoveries in South Africa, see Gooch, in Journal of the
Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, vol. xi,
pp. 124 et seq. For proofs of the existance of Palaeolithic man
in Egypt, see Mook, Haynes, Pitt-Rivers, Flinders-Petrie, and
others, cited at length in the next chapter. For the
corroborative and concurrent testimony of ethnology, philology,
and history to the vast antiquity of man, see Tylor,
Anthropology, chap. i.

As an important supplement to these discoveries of ancient
implements came sundry comparisons made by eminent physiologists
between human skulls and bones found in different places and
under circumstances showing vast antiquity.

Human bones had been found under such circumstances as early as
1835 at Cannstadt near Stuttgart, and in 1856 in the Neanderthal
near Dusseldorf; but in more recent searches they had been
discovered in a multitude of places, especially in Germany,
France, Belgium, England, the Caucasus, Africa, and North and
South America. Comparison of these bones showed that even in
that remote Quaternary period there were great differences of
race, and here again came in an argument for the yet earlier
existence of man on the earth; for long previous periods must
have been required to develop such racial differences.
Considerations of this kind gave a new impulse to the belief that
man's existence might even date back into the Tertiary period.
The evidence for this earlier origin of man was ably summed up,
not only by its brilliant advocate, Mortillet, but by a former
opponent, one of the most conservative of modern anthropologists,
Quatrefages; and the conclusion arrived at by both was, that man
did really exist in the Tertiary period. The acceptance of this
conclusion was also seen in the more recent work of Alfred Russel
Wallace, who, though very cautious and conservative, placed the
origin of man not only in the Tertiary period, but in an earlier
stage of it than most had dared assign--even in the Miocene.

The first thing raising a strong presumption, if not giving
proof, that man existed in the Tertiary, was the fact that from
all explored parts of the world came in more and more evidence
that in the earlier Quaternary man existed in different, strongly
marked races and in great numbers. From all regions which
geologists had explored, even from those the most distant and
different from each other, came this same evidence--from northern
Europe to southern Africa; from France to China; from New
Jersey to British Columbia; from British Columbia to Peru. The
development of man in such numbers and in so many different
regions, with such differences of race and at so early a period,
must have required a long previous time.

This argument was strengthened by discoveries of bones bearing
marks apparently made by cutting instruments, in the Tertiary
formations of France and Italy, and by the discoveries of what
were claimed to be flint implements by the Abbe Bourgeois in
France, and of implements and human bones by Prof. Capellini in

On the other hand, some of the more cautious men of science are
still content to say that the existence of man in the Tertiary
period is not yet proven. As to his existence throughout the
Quaternary epoch, no new proofs are needed; even so determined a
supporter of the theological side as the Duke of Argyll has been
forced to yield to the evidence.

Of attempts to make an exact chronological statement throwing
light on the length of the various prehistoric periods, the most
notable have been those by M. Morlot, on the accumulated strata
of the Lake of Geneva; by Gillieron, on the silt of Lake
Neufchatel; by Horner, in the delta deposits of Egypt; and by
Riddle, in the delta of the Mississippi. But while these have
failed to give anything like an exact result, all these
investigations together point to the central truth, so amply
established, of the vast antiquity of man, and the utter
inadequacy of the chronology given in our sacred books. The
period of man's past life upon our planet, which has been fixed
by the universal Church, "always, everywhere, and by all," is
thus perfectly proved to be insignificant compared with those
vast geological epochs during which man is now known to have

[188] As to the evidence of man in the Tertiary period, see works
already cited, especially Quatrefages, Cartailhac, and Mortillet.
For an admirable summary, see Laing, Human Origins, chap. viii.
See also, for a summing up of the evidence in favour of man in
the Tertiary period, Quatrefages, History Generale des Races
Humaines, in the Bibliotheque Ethnologique, Paris, 1887, chap.
iv. As to the earlier view, see Vogt, Lectures on Man, London,
1864, lecture xi. For a thorough and convincing refutation of
Sir J. W. Dawson's attempt to make the old and new Stone periods
coincide, see H. W. Haynes, in chap. vi of the History of
America, edited by Justin Winsor. For development of various
important points in the relation of anthropology to the human
occupancy of our planet, see Topinard, Anthropology, London,
1890, chap. ix.



In the previous chapters we have seen how science, especially
within the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, has thoroughly
changed the intelligent thought of the world in regard to the
antiquity of man upon our planet; and how the fabric built upon
the chronological indications in our sacred books--first, by the
early fathers of the Church, afterward by the medieval doctors,
and finally by the reformers and modern orthodox
chronologists--has virtually disappeared before an entirely
different view forced upon us, especially by Egyptian and
Assyrian studies, as well as by geology and archeology.

In this chapter I purpose to present some outlines of the work of
Anthropology, especially as assisted by Ethnology, in showing
what the evolution of human civilization has been.

Here, too, the change from the old theological view based upon
the letter of our sacred books to the modern scientific view
based upon evidence absolutely irrefragable is complete. Here,
too, we are at the beginning of a vast change in the basis and
modes of thought upon man--a change even more striking than that
accomplished by Copernicus and Galileo, when they substituted for
a universe in which sun and planets revolved about the earth a
universe in which the earth is but the merest grain or atom
revolving with other worlds, larger and smaller, about the sun;
and all these forming but one among innumerable systems.

Ever since the beginning of man's effective thinking upon the
great problems around him, two antagonistic views have existed
regarding the life of the human race upon earth. The first of
these is the belief that man was created "in the beginning" a
perfect being, endowed with the highest moral and intellectual
powers, but that there came a "fall," and, as its result, the
entrance into the world of evil, toil, sorrow, and death.

Nothing could be more natural than such an explanation of the
existence of evil, in times when men saw everywhere miracle and
nowhere law. It is, under such circumstances, by far the most
easy of explanations, for it is in accordance with the
appearances of things: men adopted it just as naturally as they
adopted the theory that the Almighty hangs up the stars as lights
in the solid firmament above the earth, or hides the sun behind a
mountain at night, or wheels the planets around the earth, or
flings comets as "signs and wonders" to scare a wicked world, or
allows evil spirits to control thunder, lightning, and storm, and
to cause diseases of body and mind, or opens the "windows of
heaven" to let down "the waters that be above the heavens," and
thus to give rain upon the earth.

A belief, then, in a primeval period of innocence and
perfection--moral, intellectual, and physical--from which men for
some fault fell, is perfectly in accordance with what we should

Among the earliest known records of our race we find this view
taking shape in the Chaldean legends of war between the gods, and
of a fall of man; both of which seemed necessary to explain the
existence of evil.

In Greek mythology perhaps the best-known statement was made by
Hesiod: to him it was revealed, regarding the men of the most
ancient times, that they were at first "a golden race," that "as
gods they were wont to live, with a life void of care, without
labour and trouble; nor was wretched old age at all impending;
but ever did they delight themselves out of the reach of all
ills, and they died as if overcome by sleep; all blessings were
theirs: of its own will the fruitful field would bear them
fruit, much and ample, and they gladly used to reap the labours
of their hands in quietness along with many good things, being
rich in flocks and true to the blessed gods." But there came a
"fall," caused by human curiosity. Pandora, the first woman
created, received a vase which, by divine command, was to remain
closed; but she was tempted to open it, and troubles, sorrow, and
disease escaped into the world, hope alone remaining.

So, too, in Roman mythological poetry the well-known picture by
Ovid is but one among the many exhibitions of this same belief in
a primeval golden age--a Saturnian cycle; one of the constantly
recurring attempts, so universal and so natural in the early
history of man, to account for the existence of evil, care, and
toil on earth by explanatory myths and legends.

This view, growing out of the myths, legends, and theologies of
earlier peoples, we also find embodied in the sacred tradition of
the Jews, and especially in one of the documents which form the
impressive poem beginning the books attributed to Moses. As to
the Christian Church, no word of its Blessed Founder indicates
that it was committed by him to this theory, or that he even
thought it worthy of his attention. How, like so many other
dogmas never dreamed of by Jesus of Nazareth and those who knew
him best, it was developed, it does not lie within the province
of this chapter to point out; nor is it worth our while to dwell
upon its evolution in the early Church, in the Middle Ages, at
the Reformation, and in various branches of the Protestant
Church: suffice it that, though among English-speaking nations
by far the most important influence in its favour has come from
Milton's inspiration rather than from that of older sacred books,
no doctrine has been more universally accepted, "always,
everywhere, and by all," from the earliest fathers of the Church
down to the present hour.

On the other hand appeared at an early period the opposite
view--that mankind, instead of having fallen from a high
intellectual, moral, and religious condition, has slowly risen
from low and brutal beginnings. In Greece, among the
philosophers contemporary with Socrates, we find Critias
depicting a rise of man, from a time when he was beastlike and
lawless, through a period when laws were developed, to a time
when morality received enforcement from religion; but among all
the statements of this theory the most noteworthy is that given
by Lucretius in his great poem on The Nature of Things. Despite
its errors, it remains among the most remarkable examples of
prophetic insight in the history of our race. The inspiration of
Lucretius gave him almost miraculous glimpses of truth; his view
of the development of civilization from the rudest beginnings to
the height of its achievements is a wonderful growth, rooted in
observation and thought, branching forth into a multitude of
striking facts and fancies; and among these is the statement
regarding the sequence of inventions:

"Man's earliest arms were fingers, teeth, and nails,
And stones and fragments from the branching woods;
Then copper next; and last, as latest traced,
The tyrant, iron."

Thus did the poet prophesy one of the most fruitful achievements
of modern science: the discovery of that series of epochs which
has been so carefully studied in our century.

Very striking, also, is the statement of Horace, though his idea
is evidently derived from Lucretius. He dwells upon man's first
condition on earth as low and bestial, and pictures him lurking
in caves, progressing from the use of his fists and nails, first
to clubs, then to arms which he had learned to forge, and,
finally, to the invention of the names of things, to literature,
and to laws.[189]

[189] For the passage in Hesiod, as given, see the Works and
Days, lines 109-120, in Banks's translation. As to Horace, see
the Satires, i, 3, 99. As to the relation of the poetic account
of the Fall in Genesis to Chaldean myths, see Smith, Chaldean
Account of Genesis, pp. 13, 17. For a very instructive separation
of the Jehovistic and Elohistic parts of Genesis, with the
account of the "Fall" as given in the former, see Lenormant, La
Genese, Paris, 1883, pp. 166-168; also Bacon, Genesis of Genesis.
Of the lines of Lucretius--

"Arma antiqua, manus, ungues, dentesque fuerunt,
Et lapides, et item sylvarum fragmina rami,
Posterius ferri vis est, aerisque reperta,
Sed prior aeris erat, quam ferri cognitus usus"---

the translation is that of Good. For a more exact prose
translation, see Munro's Lucretius, fourth edition, which is much
more careful, at least in the proof-reading, than the first
edition. As regards Lucretius's propheitc insight into some of
the greatest conclusiuons of modern science, see Munro's
translation and notes, fourth edition, book v, notes ii, p. 335.
On the relation of several passages in Horace to the ideas of
Lucretius, see Munro as above. For the passage from Luther, see
the Table Talk, Hazlitt's translation, p. 242.

During the mediaeval ages of faith this view was almost entirely
obscured, and at the Reformation it seemed likely to remain so.
Typical of the simplicity of belief in "the Fall" cherished among
the Reformers is Luther's declaration regarding Adam and Eve. He
tells us, "they entered into the garden about noon, and having a
desire to eat, she took the apple; then came the fall--according
to our account at about two o'clock." But in the revival of
learning the old eclipsed truth reappeared, and in the first part
of the seventeenth century we find that, among the crimes for
which Vanini was sentenced at Toulouse to have his tongue torn
out and to be burned alive, was his belief that there is a
gradation extending upward from the lowest to the highest form of
created beings.

Yet, in the same century, the writings of Bodin, Bacon,
Descartes, and Pascal were evidently undermining the old idea of
"the Fall." Bodin especially, brilliant as were his services to
orthodoxy, argued lucidly against the doctrine of general human

Early in the eighteenth century Vico presented the philosophy of
history as an upward movement of man out of animalism and
barbarism. This idea took firm hold upon human thought, and in
the following centuries such men as Lessing and Turgot gave new
force to it.

The investigations of the last forty years have shown that
Lucretius and Horace were inspired prophets: what they saw by
the exercise of reason illumined by poetic genius, has been now
thoroughly based upon facts carefully ascertained and
arranged--until Thomsen and Nilsson, the northern archaeologists,
have brought these prophecies to evident fulfilment, by
presenting a scientific classification dividing the age of
prehistoric man in various parts of the world between an old
stone period, a new stone period, a period of beaten copper, a
period of bronze, and a period of iron, and arraying vast masses
of facts from all parts of the world, fitting thoroughly into
each other, strengthening each other, and showing beyond a doubt
that, instead of a FALL, there has been a RISE of man, from the
earliest indications in the Quaternary, or even, possibly, in the
Tertiary period.[190]

[190] For Vanini, see Topinard, Elements of Anthropologie, p. 52.
For a brief and careful summary of the agency of Eccard in
Germany, Goguet in France, Hoare in England, and others in
various parts of Europe, as regards this development of the
scientific view during the eighteenth century, see Mortillet, Le
Prehistorique, Paris, 1885, chap. i. For the agency of Bodin,
Bacon, Descartes, and Pascal, see Flint, Philosophy of History,
introduction, pp. 28 et seq. For a shorter summary, see Lubbock,
Prehistoric Man. For the statements by the northern
archaeologists, see Nilsson, Worsaae, and the other main works
cited in this article. For a generous statement regarding the
great services of the Danish archaeologists in this field, see
Quatrefages, introduction to Cartailhac, Les Ages Prehistoriques
de l'Espagne et du Portugal.

The first blow at the fully developed doctrine of "the Fall"
came, as we have seen, from geology. According to that doctrine,
as held quite generally from its beginnings among the fathers and
doctors of the primitive Church down to its culmination in the
minds of great Protestants like John Wesley, the statement in our
sacred books that "death entered the world by sin" was taken as a
historic fact, necessitating the conclusion that, before the
serpent persuaded Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit, death on our
planet was unknown. Naturally, when geology revealed, in the
strata of a period long before the coming of man on earth, a vast
multitude of carnivorous tribes fitted to destroy their
fellow-creatures on land and sea, and within the fossilized
skeletons of many of these the partially digested remains of
animals, this doctrine was too heavy to be carried, and it was
quietly dropped.

But about the middle of the nineteenth century the doctrine of
the rise of man as opposed to the doctrine of his "fall" received
a great accession of strength from a source most unexpected. As
we saw in the last chapter, the facts proving the great antiquity
of man foreshadowed a new and even more remarkable idea regarding
him. We saw, it is true, that the opponents of Boucher de
Perthes, while they could not deny his discovery of human
implements in the drift, were successful in securing a verdict of
"Not prove " as regarded his discovery of human bones; but their
triumph was short-lived. Many previous discoveries, little
thought of up to that time, began to be studied, and others were
added which resulted not merely in confirming the truth regarding
the antiquity of man, but in establishing another doctrine which
the opponents of science regarded with vastly greater
dislike--the doctrine that man has not fallen from an original
high estate in which he was created about six thousand years ago,
but that, from a period vastly earlier than any warranted by the

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