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We are not, then, of those who see in all this a mere Church squabble between people of different opinions and the clergy who side with them; we regard it as a determined attempt on the part of these clergy and their supporters to pervert the position of a Protestant minister into that of a Roman Catholic priest, claiming all the authority of such a priest, knowing full well that the Roman Catholic Church views them with contempt, as false pretenders to a power to which they have no claim from anything in common with it; with natural indignation as those who thus, treasonable to their own Church, within its pale, make a practice of simulating Roman Catholic rites. In the claims and practices of this Ritualistic party we recognize deliberate and very powerful efforts, not simply to betray the dearest principles of the Protestant Church, but to subject the thought of the day, the free religious liberty of the laymen of that Church, to the dictation of a body of men in whom there is to be found none of the antecedents of a life which could prove them trained for the use of such despotic spiritual power, nor anything in the act of their ordination, in their appointment to their respective spheres of duty, which for one moment would justify their parishioners in becoming thus subject to them.
Were the laity of the Church of England bred as those of the Church of Rome are, from their childhood regarding the priests of their Church as the directors of their entire spiritual life, we should, in all reason, demand that our priests should themselves have been reared from their youth up under careful training to fit them for such an office. The fact, however, remains that, as laity, we are especially trained to look to a rational use of the Holy Scripture for the grounds on which we become members of our Church; we are carefully taught to regard clergymen as officiating ministers, no more infallible than ourselves; we are taught to respect them as solemnly set apart for the work of upholding and spreading the knowledge of Scriptural truth; we do not go to them for the pardon of our sins, but we do expect them ever to keep before us the guilt of sin and the efficacy of our own prayer, penitence, and faith to ob
tain its pardon. Our immediate Protestant forefathers lived and died in the teaching of the National Church, given in conformity not with tradition or old fables of godly doctors, but with the plain declarations of the Bible, in which, as the most sacred book, there were many of them accustomed to register the births of their families, thus proving that they trusted that the family Bible should be the hereditary family treasure. We have no desire to write one word we could avoid which would pain Roman Catholic readers, we would give them any liberty which did not militate against our own; what we do protest against is the attempt to make the Established Church-Protestant, reformed—the toy of a set of enthusiasts and foolish, vain men, who seek to destroy its character, to enslave its members, and make it a Church in which the laymen have only to obey priests, who, disowning Protestantism, are altogether themselves disowned by any one existing Church, cannot find any support, openly avowed, of more than one of the bishops they are expected to obey, and in this one case their advocate has done more in his blundering sincerity to expose their aim than advance their cause.
HUMBOLDT, in a striking passage of his beautiful work, The Aspects of Nature, contrasts the physical geography of the South American continent with that of Africa, and points out the peculiarities in the structure of the former which tend to render its climate more damp, and its vegetation more luxuriant than those of the continent which lies opposite to it across the Atlantic. Subsequent researches have perhaps somewhat diminished the force of this contrast. The discoveries of the many great travellers who, of late years, have penetrated the continent of Africa, have shown that the great intermediate region, between the northern and southern deserts, has a climate abundantly moist, and a tropical luxuriance and variety of vegetation.
But there are some other differences in the physical geography of the two great continents I have mentioned, which occasion striking varieties in the distribution of their vegetable productions. In Africa, two vast tracts of desert, extending almost entirely across the continent, cut off the fertile tropical region from that of Barbary on the one hand, and of the Cape of Good Hope on the other. The Sahara, and the great deserts on the north of the Orange River, oppose great impediments and almost (though not quite) absolute barriers to the migration of tropical forms to the north or south. Hence the flora of Barbary has, speaking generally, a Mediterranean character-that is, it agrees in its essential features with the floras of the most southern parts of Europe; that of South Africa is one of the most peculiar and most isolated on the face of the earth; and both are separated by strong lines of demarcation from the tropical African Flora.
In South America, on the other hand, there are no such transverse barriers; no natural boundaries hinder the gradual spreading of characteristic vegetable forms from one degree of latitude to another. The colossal chain of the Andes, extending without interruption through the whole length of the continent, affording, in a great part of its range, broad plateaux and elevated valleys, highly favorable to the develop ment of vegetation, rising to an enormous height under the equator, and gradually lowering as it enters the cold regions of the south, affords every facility for the migration of species. Accordingly, we find that very many distinct and well-marked forms of plants, specially characteristic of South America, range throughout its whole length, along the chain of the Andes. As an example, we may take the plant called by botanists Desfontainia; a beautiful shrub, with glossy spiny leaves, very like those of the common holly (except that they are always placed opposite to each other in pairs), and brilliant scarlet tubular flowers, of so glossy a surface and so thick a substance that one might fancy them made of porcelain. Various minor modifications occur, in the proportions of the leaves, calyx, and corolla, and the more or less developed angles of the branches,
which have led some botanists to give names to four or five species of Desfontainia; while others (and in particular the two greatest botanists of our country) consider all these forms as belonging to one species, the Desfontainia spinosa, varying in unimportant points according to climate or local circumstances. Which of these views may be the more correct is not important to our present purpose. What is certain, is that the Desfontainia, under one or other of these forms, is found along the Andes, from the Nevado de Tolima, in about 5° N. lat., to Cape Horn, in 55° S. lat.; and that nothing like it is found in any other point of the world. It is so far from being nearly akin to any other plant, that the greatest botanists have differed as to its proper place in the natural system.
I repeat, that the question whether the different forms of Desfontainia should be considered as species or as varieties, is unimportant with a view to geographical botany. A great proportion of the naturalists of the present day, whether they do or do not adopt Mr. Darwin's theory in its full extent, are at least so far influenced by it, as to admit that species and varieties are not such absolutely different things as was formerly supposed. According to the naturalists of this school, a species may be said to be a variety which has attained a particular stage of development; or varieties may be described as species in process of making. The terms may be regarded, in fact, as indicating little more than different steps in one process. When we find, as in the case I have mentioned, several plants, so much alike that it requires careful eye to distinguish them, inhabiting different parts of the same continuous tract of country, it matters little whether we consider them as one species, or as a perfectly natural and well-limited group of species, characteristic, in either case, of that particular region.
Another instance of the same kind is afforded by the Drimys, or Winter'sbark tree; a handsome tree, very aromatic, near akin to the magnolias. It was first observed near the Straits of Magellan, in Drake's voyage, and named after Captain Winter, one of the commanders of that expedition, who is said to have first made its medicinal proper
ties known in Europe. It seems strange, by the way, that a plant which has been so long known, and which inhabits a temperate climate, should be so very rarely seen in cultivation in this country. However, this Winter's-bark, or species with difficulty distinguishable from it, have since been found in Chili, in Brazil, on the Andes of New Granada, and in Mexico; so that this species, or natural group of species, has a range of 86 degrees of latitude.* Some botanists have distinguished these different forms of Drimys as six or seven distinct species; but Dr. Joseph Hooker, after a careful study and comparison of specimens from all the different regions in which it is found, came to the conclusion that they might all be most properly considered as varieties of one species. Its range in climate is more extensive than that of the Desfontainia; for within the tropic it is not confined to the high cold regions of the Andes, but is found on the table-lands of Brazil, at an elevation of not more than 2,000 to 3,000 feet above the level of the sea. Another species of Drimys has been discovered in New Zealand, and another on the mountains of Borneo; but they are very distinct from the South American kinds.
Again, the well-known Fuchsias, though not absolutely peculiar to South America, may yet be considered as a type very characteristic of that continent (including the tropical part of Mexico), since they are numerous and very widely dispersed throughout it; while only one or two kinds are found in any other part of the world. In this instance, the specific forms are much more numerous, and several of them much more distinct, than in the two genera I have already mentioned; but they form a very natural group, which flourishes on the Andes of Mexico, New Granada, and Quito, the Organ Mountains in Brazil, in Chili, and in the gloomy forests of Fuegia.
I might bring forward many other examples, but these are sufficient to illustrate what I wish to point out-namely, that, owing to the vast continuous extension of the chain of the Andes through the whole length of the continent, and to the absence of natural barriers in a transverse direction, there is a remarkable
* See Humboldt, Aspects of Nature, vol. ii. See his Flora Antarctica.
element of unity in the vegetation of South America, notwithstanding the prodigious range of temperature.
Mr. Sclater, after a most extensive and careful study of the geographical distribution of birds, has come to the conclusion, that the continent of South America (including the West Indian islands and the tropical part of Mexico) forms one of the most natural and strongly marked divisions of zoological geography. I believe that the same may be asserted, with almost equal accuracy, in reference to its botany.
There is perhaps no part of the South American continent in which its botanical characteristics are better displayed, or in which more of its peculiar vegetable forms are collected together, than on the great table-land of Brazil. This tract of country, which occupies a great extent of the interior of that vast empire, and includes within it the upper courses of the rivers San Francisco, Tocantins, Araguaya, and Paraná, with their innumerable tributaries, may be described in a very general way as an undulating or moderately hilly region, open, or at least not generally wooded, and diversified by frequent ranges and groups of mountains, of no remarkable height or extent. It comprises the famous diamond district, and all, or nearly all, the gold-producing districts of Brazil. The general elevation of the table-land (at least in its eastern and bestknown portion, in the province of Minas Geraes) is from 2,000 to 4,000 feet above the level of the sea, and its highest mountains, it would appear, scarcely attain to 6,000 feet.* It is strikingly distinguished from the tracts near the sea-coast and along the sides of the great rivers of that country, by the comparative absence of wood. It is, speaking generally, an open country, though there are frequent patches of wood-"islands of wood," as they are expressively called in the language of the country,f-nestling in the sheltered hollows and recesses of the hills, and in the ravines of the mountains. These "island" woods are of much less gigantic growth than the forests near the coast, and have not their
* See Humboldt, Aspects of Nature, "Steppes and Deserts," Note 5.
Such is said to be the meaning of the local term "Caapoes."
overpowering luxuriance; often they more remind us by their general characters, of our European woods, but they consist of an astonishing variety of trees. Here and there, principally on the southern parts of the table-land, we meet with groves of a strange and solemn aspect, composed entirely of the Brazilian Araucaria, a stately and sombre tree. It grows also, occasionally, intermixed with other trees, in the great forests on the Organ Mountains, near Rio de Janeiro; but on the table-land of Minas Geraes it grows always alone, unmixed with other trees; and its perfectly straight columnar stem, its crown of excessively long branches, spreading like the arms of a chandelier, quite bare except at their ends, which curve upwards, and the dark gray-green tint of its rigid foliage, make it a tree of very striking appearance.
This same Brazilian Araucaria might give rise to some curious speculations concerning the dispersion of natural types. It is so nearly akin to the wellknown Araucaria imbricata, that one can hardly help suspecting they must have come originally from the same stock; yet their native regions are now absolutely separated. The one is confined to a narrow tract at a great elevation on the Andes of Southern Chili; the other, though it has a wider latitudinal range, belongs to a lower elevation, as well as to lower latitudes, and does not seem anywhere to approach the Andes. Between the regions now inhabited by the one species and the other is interposed the whole extent of the Pampas and the lowlands of Paraguay, in which neither could flourish.
The richest part, botanically, of the great table-land of Brazil is the eastern portion, comprising the diamond district and the principal gold districts of Minas Geraes. It is also the most elevated part. The surface is in general clothed with slender and rather rigid grasses, of many different kinds, growing thinly in separate tufts, not in a dense carpet, and intermixed with a wonderful variety of small slender shrubs with beautiful bright colored flowers, many of them resembling heaths in general appearance at first sight. In some parts of the campos (as the open country is called) the shrubs grow larg
er, and form a kind of thin brushwood; and some tracts are dotted over with small low trees, standing apart like fruit trees in an orchard, which they a good deal resemble also in size and form. It would be difficult to give an idea, to those not well versed in botany, of the variety, beauty, and interest of the vegetation of this region. Very copious detailed accounts of it are given in Gardner's Travels, and in some papers by the same author in the Journal of the Horticultural Society; but mere lists of names would convey little or no information to the generality of readers, and the greater part of the most characteristic forms of this vegetation are little or not at all known in cultivation in Europe. For the most part they belong to the same generic types as those which occur in the great forests in the same latitudes; but instead of appearing as giant trees or lofty climbers, those types of structure are here represented by dwarfish trees, by low slender under-shrubs, or even by herbs; and they branch out into endless minor diversities of form. A large proportion of them are especially and characteristically South American: either peculiar to that continent, or scantily represented elsewhere; others are strange and peculiar forms of widely spread types. For instance, one of the most common herbaceous plants on the campos of the gold district, is an Eryngium, strictly a congener of our wellknown sea-side Eryngo, or Sea Holly; but instead of the thistle-like leaves of that and of all the European Eryngiums, it has long, narrow, strap-shaped, parallel-veined leaves, forming a rosette at the base of the stem, and fringed throughout their length with sharp slender prickles,-leaves more like those of the pineapple family than of that to which it belongs. A whole group of species of Eryngium, with leaves of this peculiar character, appears to extend through South America, from Mexico to the Rio de la Plata, and I am not aware that any such have been found in other countries.
Time and space do not allow me to dwell longer on the botany of the inte rior uplands of Brazil, which might indeed afford employment for their whole lives to more than one generation of botanists. This remarkable region is
separated from the Andes by the broad valley, or comparative depression, through which the waters find their way to the river Madeira on the one hand, and to the Paraguay on the other; and by which, as Humboldt has observed, the plains of the Amazons are connected with those of La Plata. But there is much in common between the vegetation at considerable elevations on the equatorial Andes and that of the Brazilian mountains, which are so much lower. It has been conjected by some great naturalists that, in former times, before the mountains and valleys of South America had been brought completely into their present arrangement, the Brazilian mountain group may have been higher than now, and directly.connected with the Andes by intervening heights, which might allow of the migration of mountain plants from the one system to the other. Much further and more careful study of the geology as well as of the botany of those countries is requisite, before an opinion can safely be pronounced on such hypotheses.
The Brazilian uplands lower gradually toward the south, and seem to pass without any abrupt demarcation into the grassy plains of Uruguay and La Plata. And, as in physical geography, there is no strongly marked boundary line between. these two regions, so in their vegetable productions the same appears to hold good. The vegetation of the table-land melts or fades by degrees into that of the more southern plains, the distinguishing characteristics of which are perhaps rather negative than positive. The most remarkable and predominant tropical groups thin out and disappear by degrees, as we go southward, but they are not replaced to any considerable extent by new and local forms. I speak of indigenous plants; for the vegetation of the Pampas and the banks of the Plata has been modified in an extraordinary manner by the introduction of certain plants from Europe, which have naturalized and established themselves so thoroughly, and spread so widely, as to become more predominant and conspicuous than any of the native produce of the soil. The most remarkable instances of this kind are the thistles (Carduus Marianus and
Cynara Cardunculus) and the trefoils (Trifolium repens and Medicago denticulata), which cover the Pampas to a vast extent, and have been noticed by all travellers. Many other common European weeds of cultivated and waste lands are now among the most common plants on both sides of the Rio de la Plata; and some of them have been introduced within the memory of man.
The great Rio de la Plata does not form a botanical boundary line. There are indeed several species of plants which are confined to one or the other side, and some families, chiefly tropical, which do not cross it; but the leading characters of the vegetation, both as to its general physiognomy and its prevailing species and groups, are the same on both sides. The vegetation is chiefly herbaceous and of low growth; the Pampas, as is well known, are almost absolutely treeless; on the shores of the Plata the only native tree is the strange uncouth Ombú (Phytolacca dioica); and the more undulating country on the north of the river is almost equally bare of wood, except along the margins of the streams. Yet this dwarfish flora is to a great extent composed of plants of the same families and groups with those which constitute the gorgeous vegetation of tropical Brazil. Several species of plants, peculiar to South America, range from tropical Brazil, and some even from Guyana, to the region of La Plata.
The botany of the dreary region called Fuegia, forming the southern extremity of the South American continent, has been made thoroughly known to us by Dr. Hooker, as its zoology and its general scenery have by Mr. Darwin. At first sight, the flora of this region might appear to be an exception to the general unity of character which I have endeavored to point out as pervading that continent; it appears to have a striking similarity to the vegetation of northern Europe. But I think it will be found on closer examination that the Fuegian Flora is more South American in reality than in appearance. It certainly includes many plants absolutely identical with European ones, and more which are called "representative species;" very near akin to some found in Europe, though botanists consider them