Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 8.djvu/132

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122
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

volving icebergs were capable of scooping out hollows in the rocky bottom of the sea, and thought that lake-basins on the rocky summits of hills or on water-sheds might have been produced in this way. He then gave reasons for supposing that the drift-knolls called eskers, where their forms were very abrupt, might have been partly formed by eddying currents with waves generated or intensified by ice-movements, which sometimes would set the sea in motion as much as sixteen miles off.

According to Mr. Mackintosh, floating coast-ice is the principal transporter and glaciator of stones, and the uniformly striated stones found in the bowlder-clay were both glaciated and transported by coast-ice. He entered minutely into a consideration of how stones, previously more or less rounded, became flattened and uniformly grooved on one, two, or more sides, the grooves on the various sides differing in their directions. He believed that many of the stones found in the bowlder-clay of Cheshire must have been frequently dropped and again picked up by coast-ice during the passage from their original positions.

 

Ancestors of the British.—Another paper by the same author was devoted to the discussion of certain ethnological questions connected with the history of the people of Britain. He believed that the inhabitants of different parts of England and Wales differed so much in their physical and mental characteristics that many tribes must have retained their peculiarities since their colonization of the country, by remaining in certain localities with little mutual interblending, or through the process of amalgamation failing to obliterate the more hardened characteristics. The first type noticed was the Gaelic. In Cæsar's time, probably the great mass of the people of Gaul were comparatively dark in complexion and small in stature; and the race characterized by Cæsar as of tall stature, reddish hair, and blue eyes, were most likely German colonists of Gaul. There still exists in England, Wales, and Ireland, a distinct race, possessed of some of the mental characteristics anciently attributed to the Gaels. In mental character the Gaels are excitable, and alternately lively and melancholy. The Gael is also by temperament an excellent soldier, but he needs to be commanded by a race possessed of moral determination, tempered by judgment and foresight. Another characteristic of the Gaelic race is sociability.

In North Wales there are several distinct ethnological types, but by far the most prevalent is the type to which the term Cymrian may be applied. The Cymri appear to have entered Wales from the north. They are an industrious race, living on scanty fare without murmuring. Mr. Mackintosh gave a minute description of the physical and mental peculiarities of Saxons, and showed the difference between Saxons and Danes. With Worsaae, he believes that the Danes have impressed their character on the inhabitants of the northeastern half of England. He endeavored to show that between the northeast and southwest the difference in the character of the people is so great as to give a semi-nationality to each division. Restless activity, ambition, and commercial speculation, predominate in the northeast; contentment and leisure of reflection in the southwest. He concluded by a reference to the derivation of the settlers of New England from the southwest, mentioning the fact that, while a large proportion of New England surnames are still found in Devon and Dorset, there is a small village, called Boston, near Totnes, and in its immediate neighborhood a place called Bunker Hill.

 

Changes in the Courses of Rivers.—Major Herbert Wood spoke on the cause of the change of direction in the lower course of the river Oxus, by which its mouth had been diverted from the Caspian to the Aral. In the opinion of Major Wood this change is to be attributed to the abstraction of the water of the river for the purposes of irrigation, which has been practised from time immemorial. The quantity of water thus diverted has never been calculated, but, from data obtained by Major Wood during the Russian Expedition, he concludes that, between June 23 and September 10, 1874, an average of 62,350 cubic feet per second was absorbed by the irrigation canals of Khiva, an amount equal to nearly one-half the total volume of the