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BOOK seem strange to men of judgment, yea but of ordinary
. understanding, that the earth (God so pleasing) was covered over with waters, without any new creation. But this will yet appear more probable, if the height of the highest mountains doth bear no greater proportion to the diameter of the earth, than of the 1670th
part to the whole, supposing the diameter of the earth Gasseud. to be 8355 miles, as P. Gassendus computes both. And torn. ii. Op. Phys. sect. it is more than probable that men have exceedingly 3. I. i.
mistaken as to the height of mountains, which comes so far short of what sir Walter Raleigh allows to them, that the highest mountain in the world will not be found to be five direct miles in height, taking the altitude of them from the plain they stand upon. Olympus, whose height is so extolled by the poets and
ancient Greeks, that it is said to exceed the clouds; Plut. in Æ- yet Plutarch tells us that Xenagoras measured it, and
found it not to exceed a mile and a half perpendicu
lar, and about 70 paces; much about the same height Plin. 1. ii. Pliny saith that Dicæarchus found the mountain Pe
lion to be. The mount Athos is supposed of extraordinary height, because it casts its shadow into the isle of Lemnos, which, according to Pliny, was 87 miles ;
yet Gassendus allows it but two miles in height; but Pomp. Me- Isaac Vossius, in a learned discourse concerning the lam, 1. v. c. 2. p. 115, height of mountains, in his notes on Pomponius Mela, &c.
doth not allow above 10 or 11 furlongs at most to the height of Mount Athos. Caucasus, by Ricciolus, is said to be 51 miles in height: Gassendus allowing it to be higher than Athos or Olympus, yet conceives it not above three or four miles at most; but yet Vossius will not yield it above two miles perpendicular, for which he gives this very good reason: Polybius affirms, there is no mountain in Greece which may not be ascended in a day's time, and makes the highest
mountain there not to exceed 10 furlongs; which, CHAP. saith Vossius, it is scarce possible for any one to reach, unless he be a mountaineer born; any other will scarce be able to ascend above six furlongs perpendicular; for in the ascent of a mountain every pace doth reach but to an hand-breadth perpendicular: but if we do allow eight furlongs to a day's ascent, yet thereby it will appear that the highest mountains in the world are not above 24 furlongs in height, since they may be ascended in three days time: and it is affirmed of the top of Mount Caucasus, that it may be ascended in less than the compass of three days, and therefore cannot be much above two miles in height. Which may be the easier believed of any other mountain, when that which is reputed the highest of the world, viz. the Pike of Teneriffe, which the inhabitants call Pica de Terraria, may be ascended in that compass of time, viz. three days; for in the months of July and August (which are the only months in which men can ascend it, because all other times of the year snow lies upon it, although neither in the isle of Teneriffe, nor any v. Vare
nium Geog. other of the Canary islands, there be snow ever seen) General. the inhabitants then ascend to the top of it in three ,,c. 1o.
prop. 3• days time; which top of it is not pyramidal, but plain, from whence they gather some sulphurous stones, which are carried in great quantities into Spain. So that according to the proportion of eight furlongs to a day's journey, this Pike of Teneriffe will not exceed the height of a German mile perpendicular, as Varenius confesseth; than which he thinks likewise that no mountain in the world is higher. For what Pliny speaks of the Alps being fifty miles in height, must be understood not perpendicular, but in regard of the obliquity of the ascent of it; so that he might account so much from the foot of the Alps to the top of them, and yet the
BOOK Alps, in a perpendicular line, not come near the height
- of a German mile. If then the highest mountains do
not exceed much above three miles in height, (for the Spaniards themselves affirm, that those lofty mountains of Peru, in comparison of which, they say, the Alps are but like cottages, may be ascended in four days compass,) we see from hence, then, far greater probability how the waters in the time of the general flood might overtop the highest mountains.
Especially if it be made evident that there is so great an abyss of subterraneous waters, that the breaking open of the fountains of it may so much increase the inundation arising from the clouds, and from the breaking in of the ocean upon the main land. And that there is such a mass of waters in the body of the earth, is evident from the origin of fountains; for the opinion of Aristotle imputing them to the condensation of air in the caverns of the earth, and that of other philosophers ascribing them to the fall of rain-water received into such cisterns in the earth which are capable of receiving it, are both equally unsatisfactory, unless we suppose a mass of waters in the bowels of the earth, which may be as the common stock to supply those fountains with. For it is very hard conceiving how mere air should be so far condensed, as to cause not only such a number of fountains, but so great a quantity of water as runs into the sea by those rivers which come from them, (as the river Volga is supposed to empty so much water in a year's tirne into the Caspian sea, as might suffice to cover the whole earth;) by which likewise it is most evident, that there must be some subterranean passages into the sea, or else of necessity, by that abundance of water which continually runs into it from the rivers, it would overflow and drown the world. And from this multitude
of waters which comes from fountains, it is likewise CHAP. evident, that the origin of fountains cannot be merely – from such water which falls from the clouds, which would never suffice to maintain so full and uninterrupted a stream as many fountains have; especially if that be true which some assert, that rain-water doth never moisten the earth above ten feet deep; for of far greater profundity many fountains are. And besides, the rain-water runs most upon the surface of the earth, and so doth rather swell the rivers, which thereby run with greater force in their passage to the ocean, and doth not lodge itself presently in the earth; especially if it descends in a greater quantity, which alone is able to fill such cisterns supposed to be in the earth, especially in mountains, which may keep a stream continually running. Although therefore we may acknowledge that the fall of rain may much conduce to the overflowing and continuance of fountains, as is evident by the greater force of springs after continued rains, and by the decay of many of them in hot and dry weather, (which yet I had rather impute to the sun's exhaling, by his continued heat, those moist vapours in the earth, which should continually supply the springs, than merely to the want of rain,) and by the rise of most great rivers from such fountains which came from the foot of mountains, where the ground is supposed to be of so hard and consistent a substance as stone or chalk, or something of like nature, which might help to the conservation of water there, from whence it after ran in streams to the ocean, (which was the great argument of the famous Peireskius for v. Gassend.
Vit. Peireshis opinion ;) although, I say, these things may argue kii, 1. iii. thus far, that rain-water doth much conduce to the p. 292. preservation of springs, yet it cannot give a sufficient account of the origin of them; which with the greatest
it is in th ust be deemer's are mom the least
BOOK reason and probability is imputed to those subterra
neous waters which pass up and down through the bowels of the earth. Some have fancied the earth to be as one great animal, whose subterraneous passages were like veins in the body, which received water out of the sea, as the veins do blood out of the liver; and that there are some kind of vapours in the earth, which supply the place of vital spirits, which are diffused up and down the body through the arteries. And that as in an animal there are some parts which upon the least prick do send forth blood, and others are more callous, where the incision must be deeper before any blood appears, so it is in the earth; when it is opened in a right vein, we find presently a spring of water ; but if we chance to hit on a wrong place, we go deep, and may find none; not that water is wanting, but we have not hit on the veins through which it runs. And thence as the blood, with equal freedom and velocity, ascends into the head as it runs into the legs, because it is equally dispersed into all the parts from the centre of it; so in the body of the earth it is as natural for the water to ascend into the tops of mountains, as it is to fall down into the centre of the earth; and that it is no more wonder to see springs issue out of mountains, than it is to see a man bleed in the veins of his forehead, when he is let blood there. So in all places of the earth the parts of it are not disposed for apertion; for some of them are so hard and compact, that there seems to be no passage through them, (which is the most probable reason why there is no rain neither in those places, because there is no such exsudation of those moist vapours through the surface of the earth, which may yield matter for rain, as it is in many of the sandy places of Africa ;) but usually mountainous countries have more large, and as it were temple-veins,