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Alexander von Humboldt: „The supposed recent Origin of America refuted“, in: ders., Sämtliche Schriften digital, herausgegeben von Oliver Lubrich und Thomas Nehrlich, Universität Bern 2021. URL: <https://humboldt.unibe.ch/text/1828-The_supposed_recent-1-neu> [abgerufen am 05.02.2023].

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Titel The supposed recent Origin of America refuted
Jahr 1828
Ort Edinburgh
Nachweis
in: The Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal (Juli–September 1828), S. 309–310.
Postumer Nachdruck
Alexander von Humboldt, Ueber die künftigen Verhältnisse von Europa und Amerika. Politische und historographische Schriften zur Neuen Welt, herausgegeben von Oliver Lubrich, Hannover: Wehrhahn 2010, S. 79–81.
Entsprechungen in Buchwerken
Alexander von Humboldt, Ansichten der Natur, Stuttgart und Tübingen: Cotta 1808, S. 94–100, Anmerkung 17.
Sprache Englisch
Schriftart Antiqua
Identifikation
Textnummer Druckausgabe: IV.90
Dateiname: 1828-The_supposed_recent-1-neu
Statistiken
Seitenanzahl: 2
Zeichenanzahl: 4154

Weitere Fassungen
The supposed recent Origin of America refuted (Edinburgh, 1828, Englisch)
Über den Ursprung von Amerika (Berlin, 1829, Deutsch)
|309|

The supposed recent Origin of America refuted.

A very ingenious naturalist, Mr Smith Barton, has said,with much justice, “I can only consider as puerile, and in noway proved by natural evidence, the supposition that a greatpart of America has emerged from the bosom of the wa-ters at a later period than the other continents *.” May I bepermitted to quote a passage from a memoir which I composed,on the Native Tribes of America . “Justly celebrated wri-ters have often repeated, that America is, in every sense of theword, a New Continent. That richness of vegetation, that massof immense rivers, those great volcanoes, always in action, an-nounce, say they, that the earth, incessantly trembling and notentirely dry, is less removed from the original chaotic state thanin the old world. Long before my voyage, such ideas appearedto me as unphilosophical as opposed to the generally knownlaws of physics. These images of youth and disorder, as wellas of dryness and progressive loss of vigour in the Earth, as itgrows old, could only originate with those who amuse them-selves with seeking out contrasts between the two hemispheres,and do not comprehend under a general view the constitutionof our planet. Will it be said that the southern part of Italyis a newer country than Lombardy, because it is almost conti-nually shaken by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions? Besides,our present volcanoes and earthquakes are slight phenomenacompared with those revolutions of nature which the geologistmust suppose to have taken place in the days of the melting andcooling of the masses which have formed the mountains, whenthe Earth was yet in a state of chaos. Different causes mustmake the effects of the energy of nature vary in different cli-mates. In the New World, the volcanoes, to the number offifty-four, may perhaps have burnt longer, because the chain oflofty mountains in which they are situated is nearer the sea, andbecause this circumstance, and the perpetual snow which coversthem, appear to modify the subterranean fire, in a manner asyet little appreciated. Earthquakes and eruptions act there pe-
* Fragments of the Natural History of Pennsylvania, vol. i. p. 4. Berliner Monatschrift, t. xv. p. 190.
|310| riodically. At present physical disorder and political tranquili-ty reign in the New Continent, while in the Old, the discords ofthe nations drive men to seek for rest in the bosom of nature.Perhaps a time will come when one part of the world will takethe place of the other in this singular contrast between physicaland moral energy. Volcanoes rest for ages, before they areagain lighted up. The opinion that, in the older regions, thereought to reign a certain peace in nature, is founded merely up-on a play of our imagination. One side of our planet can neverbe older than the other. The islands produced by volcanoes,such as the Azores, or gradually formed by mollusca, like manyislands of the Pacific Ocean, are in general more recent than thegranite masses of the central chain of Europe. A country ofsmall extent, like Bohemia, and several valleys of the moon,circularly inclosed by mountains, may long remain covered withwater, in consequence of partial inundations, and form a lake.After the waters have been entirely drained off, the name ofnewly-formed land might by metaphor be given to this, wherevegetation would establish itself by degrees. But an aquaticenvelope, such as the geologist figures to himself at the periodof the formation of the secondary mountains, can only be sup-posed, consistently with the laws of hydrostatics, as existing atonce in all parts of the world, and in all climates. The seacould not remain on the vast plains of the Oronocco and Ama-zon, without, at the same time, ravaging the countries situatedaround the Baltic. The concatenation and identity of the se-condary strata near Carracas, in Thuringia, and in LowerEgypt, prove, as I have shewn in my Geological Picture ofSouth America, that this great operation of nature has been per-formed at the same period over the whole earth. — Humboldt,Tableau de la Nature, tom. i. p. 133-139.