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In New England, it hath been obferved, That, as they clear the country, a vaft number of little brooks are loft, and that this hath affected the river Connecticut it. felf; which hath grown diftinguishably fhallower*.
In Old England, the cafe heretofore was much the fame. Befides what hath been already obferved, it is worthy our notice, that when Severus made war upon Britain, it is reprefented by the hiftorian, as a marshy country, especially upon the coasts, for the paffing of which marfhes, and the getting of good footing to engage the enemy, the Romans were obliged to provide bridges: For that the natives fwam and waded through them; and fought in them up to their waifts-And that the vapours arifing from the marshes rendered the atmosphere of the country always thick and cloudy+: Which description, I fuppofe, will not be
*Account of European Settlements in America, Vol. ii. ch. 8.
+ Herodiani Hift. lib. iii. cap. 47•
thought to suit scarce any parts of this ifland at prefent.
It appears from the observations of philosophers, that there is a diminution in the element of water various ways. Sir Ifaac Newton obferves, That vegetation and putrefaction caufe a diminution of humidity; for that vegetables are nourished by moifture; and by putrefaction, are turned, in great part, into dry earth; and earthy fubftance always fubfides in fermenting liquors And Mr. Boyle hath discovered by experiments, that water, by repeated diftillations, is turned into a folid earth +.
On the other hand, we fee a growth, not only in the trees and vegetables, but in the glebe itself; in ftones, minerals,
* Pemb. View of Sir Newton's Philofophy, p. 245. + It may likewise be queftioned, Whether all the vapours exhaled by the fun return to the earth again, either in rain, or otherwife; and whether part of them be not rarified into air; as the air is fuppofed by fome to have been tranfmuted into water, for the purpose of drowning the world.
and conchous fubftances; in the feeding of which, water is chiefly employed: And, in a manner, there is a growth in all the materials of which the world confifts which cannot be maintained but by water. This must therefore caufe an increase in the matter of the folid parts of the earth, at the expence of the fluid parts; the elements being convertible into each other, the one acquiring what the other loseth; the former increafing, in direct proportion, as the latter doth decrease: And as this must have been the cafe ever fince the flood, the effects, in fo long a course of time, may now be fuppofed very confiderable.
Accordingly philofophers have obferved, that the earth increaseth in bulk; which is rendered very probable by an obfervation of Dr. Halley's*: Linnæus hath published an oration, De telluris habitabilis incremento; which I have not feen. And
*See Pemb. View of Sir Ifaac Newton's Philofophy, p. 245.
Dr. Plot went fo far as to calculate the annual increase of the earth. In his Natural History of Staffordshire, he fays, that at the depth of eighteen feet in the earth, there was found a great number of pieces of money, which were the coin of Edward IV. two hundred years before; fo that the ground, which was marfhy, had grown about one foot in eleven years; or one inch and a twelfth part of an inch in a year. Here is a quick growth: But this cannot be held for a general rule, though it may ferve for fuch in marshy lands.
The increase of the globe in general may be illuftrated from what travellers have obferved concerning fome of the remaining buildings of old Rome. The Pantheon, which, when it was built, was afcended to by eight fteps, is now defcended into by as many: Whilft the foundation of the Capitol is ftill above ground, as it ftands upon a rock. But the Tar. peian rock itself is now of fo fmall a fall, Ż 2
that a man would think it no great matter, for his diverfion, to leap over it*." This is undoubtedly owing to the earth. being grown up about it, and fed by the washings of the rock, and chiefly by the rubbish of the ruined buildings-which is alfo the cafe in London: A proof of which is, That the triumphal arch of Septimius, which stands at the foot of the Tarpeian rock, is now almoft buried in the earth. The bafis and whole pedestal of Trajan's pillar is funk under ground; or, to speak more properly, the ground is raised about it; which is the cafe, more or lefs, of moft of the other remains of old Rome. The walls of it in the lower part of the city have been observed to lie, thirty, and forty feet below the furface of the earth+.
4. Another barrier against the sea is formed by the vast mountains of ice, which the feas about the polar regions are choak
* Bp. Burnet's Letters from Italy, Lett. 3. Ray's Difcourfes, p. 51.