Johann Jakob Ferber.

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William B. Vasels

MR. F E R B E R's


I T A L Y.




In the Years 1771 and 1772.







36lAom\ T&Kcb TtYbfY

and Member of feveral LITERARY SOCIETIES.


With EXPLANATORY NOTES, and a PREFACE on the prefent
State and future Improvement of MINERALOGY.

By R. E. R AS P E.

In novafert animus mutatai dicere format.




i ] DGr


BY the claffical education received in our
infancy we are imperceptibly acquain-
ted with Italy ; and, being favoured by na-
ture, or infpired by faihion, with a tafte for
Arts and Sciences, it is with pleafure and
improvement that we afterwards travel over
the Alps, and perufe the defcriptions of this
beautiful country. Happy in its climate, and
diftinguifhed by the ingenuity of its inha-
bitants, it has twice, under the Romans and
Popes, with an almoft univerfal fway, pre-
fided over the better part of the world. At
two different periods it has nurfed and im-
proved the Arts and Sciences. In former
times, it handed them down by the Roman
Colonies to difrant barbarous nations. Since
the laft Gothic ages, they revived again in
the genius of Petrarch, Dante, Boccace,
a Raphael,



Raphael, and Leo X. who fpread their glory,
light, and influence, over the whole inha-
bited world ; never, it is hoped, to be loft
again. By a juft return, every Art and Sci-
ence, and every civilized nation, have been
emulous to embellifh Italy, and to give tef-
timony to its highly deferved celebrity.

Per varies cafus & multa dlfcnmina rerum
Tendimus In Latium.

In confequence, this remarkable part of
Europe, having been fo much vifited and
examined, and fo amply defcribed by able
writers, now affords but few topics for
the modern traveller to enlarge upon.
There have, however, of late appeared forne
defcriptions, which prove, that ingenious
men may yet coniider Italy in a new
point of view. It would be ungrateful not
to acknowledge the obligations we are un-
der, to the publications of La Condamine,
Richard, La Lande, Groiley, Volckmann,
Tozzetti, Fortis, Riedefel, Brydone, and
Burney ; and it would be unfair not to rank


PR E F A C E. v

Mr. Ferber among thofe who found in Italy

TJnde prius nulli velarunt tempora Mufae.

This gentleman was born at Carlfcrona in
Sweden, and had his education at Upfal,
that famous fchool of Natural Hiftory,
where Linnaeus, Cronjlcdt, and Walkrius, have
fo fuccefsfully fyftematized the different
kingdoms of Nature ; and where, of late, fo
many eminent Naturalifls have been infpired
with their genius. Ferber caught a true
fpark of it. Not idly devoting himfelf with
many fecond-rate difciples of Linntfits to the
collection and claffification of plants, he be-
took himlelf rather to the abftrufer fubter-
raneous kingdom of Nature ; which, from
its being furrounded with darknefs, and at-
tended with difficulties, has hitherto been
too much neglected. Nor did he cramp his
underftanding with the barren nomenclatures
of foffils. He thought of fatisfying him-
felf; and of improving fcience, for the fcholar
and the miner. In this view he examined
a 2 the


the mines and fmelting-places in Sweden,
and travelled, from the year 1768 to 1773*
through Germany, Holland, Switzerland,
France, England, Bohemia, Hungary, and
Italy, in order to enlarge and rectify his
ideas, and to gather that various inftruction,
from the learned and A the unlearned, from
Philofophers, Chemifts, Miners, and Smel-
ters, which the improved culture of thofe

countries offers to the obferver.


He made at feveral times a long ftay in
Germany, the beft as well as the moft an-
cient fchool in Europe for miners and me-
tallurgifts. The old rich mines of the Hartz-
foreft, with its furnaces,, feemcd to him
remarkably inftructive in their nature, and
in the wife oeconomy by which they are
conducted and regulated; and, indeed, there
are but few mines, which, on that account,
will bear a comparifon with them.

The very ufeful Academy for Miners ac
Freiberg in Saxony fatisfied and inftructed
him. The arts of mining, furveying, work-
ing, and fmelting, are taught there, by able




mafters, upon fcientific principles ; and ia
that place he feems to have conceived a
thought of enlarging upon Baron Pabft v.
Ohains idea of a phyfical .or fubterraneous
geography, and of collecting on his travels as
many fads as might generalife them, and
reduce the art of difcovering and purfuing
metallic veins to better principles. Hitherto
it was entirely left, either to chance, or the fu-
perftitious and ignorant practices of common
workmen ; perhaps to the perfonal fkill and
unfyftematic empirical experience of illite-
rate miners, which of courfe is confined to
fingle mountains, and fcarce ever outlives
the man. I need not dwell on the advantages
of this happy idea ; fince, from the prefent
publication, and fbrhe' others which I {hall
fpeak of afterwards, it is obvious how in-
ftructive it mufi prove for the art of Mining ;
which, after the Nautical art, feems to be
the moil complicate, expeniive, and hazard-
ous, of all.

I was acquainted with him in the year

1768, when from Saxony and the Hartzforeft

he went to Holland, France, and England.

a 3 We



We examined together the Habichwald neas
Caflel ; and as, till, that moment, he had
feen no volcanic mountain, reputed to be
fuch, he was not altogether fatisfied with
my Syflem of the Earth, which in 1 763
had been publifhed at Amfterdam. I was. led
to fufpecl:, what farther obfervations have
convinced me of, that this huge and uncouth
heap of mountains is a monument of an*
cient volcanic eruptions. He has certainly
in thefe Letters on Italy made me large
and liberal amends, fince he has confirmee)
me in my own ideas.

He was taken great notice of in England
by Dr. Franklin ; and every where elie, by
men of liberal minds, who confider not
fcience as a job, nor the active friends of
knowledge as encroaching intruders upon
their literary reputation. Mr. Whitehurfl
at Derby, with hofpitable politenefs and an
extenfive folid knowledge of his country s
enabled him to examine the mountains and
mines of that county, and to draw up a
memoir for the prefs, which hitherto has
jipt appeared,



In 1770 he returned to Sweden, and was
received Afleffor in the Royal Department of
Mines ; but foon after fet out again for
Germany on the fame errand as before,
and which afterwards led him to Italy.

Baron Inigo v. Born, Counfellor of the
Royal and Imperial Mines in Bohemia, then
Jiving at Prague, had been acquainted with
him in his firft journey to Germany, and
feized the opportunity of this fecond excur-
fion with that generous warmth which has
made him one of the moft learned and moft
liberal promoters of Mineralogy. Having
formerly communicated to his friend very
mftructive and entertaining accounts of his
own mineralogical travels to the Hungarian
and Tranfylvanian mines, he now prevailed
on Mr. Ferber to make him a fuitable return
for them by accounts from Italy, whither he
went in the latter end of 1771, after having
made repeated and very interefring examina-
tions of the Bohemian mines.

This occaiional acquaintance of our au-
thor with Baron Bom proved a great advan-
a 4 tage;


tage to Ory&ology and Mineralogy; fince we
are indebted to it for fome of the moft
valuable and fcientific accounts hitherto
written in any language. Baron Born
published Mr. Ferber's Letters on Italy at
Prague^ 1773. Mr. Ferber publifhed not
only his own obfervations on the quickiilver^
mines at Idria and on the Bohemian mines,
but alfo the Baron's Travels to Hungary and

They have been received abroad with jufl
applaufe ; and, as it is prefumed that they
will meet with a fimilar reception in Eng-
land, I have undertaken to lay them before
the public, ever indulgent to the improvement
of ufeful fcience. As the latter are fhortly
to appear, I mall here give fome remarks
merely on the prefent publication.

It is obvious, that, hitherto, no traveller
has examined Italy in a general mineralogical
view ; and that the object of thefe Letters,
on this account, is entirely new.

Interefting in itfelf, for the improvement
of Phyfical Geography, and the Natural Hif-
tory of the Earth, it is the more fo, as



Italy offers many inftructlve phenomena to
that purpofe, and as the writer of thefe Let-
ters was eminently qualified to treat of them
with propriety. I mall not enlarge upon
the vicinity of the Alps, the nature of the
Apennine mountains, the many marble quar-
ries, the great variety of foreign marbles
employed by the Ancients, the alum- works
at Tolfa and in the Solfatara, nor the increafe
of the fea, which Mr. Ferber has taken no-
tice of. The volcanos of this country, how-
ever, and efpecially Vefuvius, claim particular

Being iituated in the neighbourhood of a
large and populous city, this mountain had
ft ruck the fancy, and engaged the curiofity,
of philofophers and travellers ever fince the
time of Pliny. However, the many defcrip-
tions of thefe great laboratories of Nature,
which hitherto have been given to the pub-
lic, are far from being fatisfaclory to
Naturalifts. Entirely taken up withhiftori-
cal accounts of their various eruptions, and of
the horrors and devastations which have at-
tended them, they indulged themfelves either


xii P R E F A C E.

in fentimental and poetical flights, or in
marvellous tales of wonders performed,
or rather not performed, by the noftrums of
St. Januarius, and the ceremonies of crafty
priefts. They noticed only the apparent
de vacations ; and did not fo much as ima-
gine that the volcanic and Veluvian horrors
are concomitant majeftic effects of the moft
active power of Nature, creating new foffils
and land by the greateft of all chemical
operations. But very few of them, and thofe
only of late, advifed the applying thefe
phaenomena, and the new-raifed volcanic
iilands, to fome general hypothecs of the
earth : although the Greeks, about two thou-
fand years ago, had fet the fairefr. example,
in tracing Nature's fyflem by fimilar facts.
I do not allude to Father Kirchers Subterra-
neous World, in which that credulous man
dreamed of a central and fubterraneous fire ;
appearing no where except in his own chi-
merical fedtions of the earth. I mean to
fpeak of the better fyftems of Ray J , Hooke 1 ^

1 Phyiico -Theological Difcourfes.
* Treatife on Earthquakes, in his Pofthumous


P R E F'A C E. xiii

and Ant. Lazaro Moro 3 ; which, in- a hypo-
thetical manner, by earthquakes, volcanos,
ai d the a&ion of the Tea, explain, or might
explain, phenomena .in the furface of
the earth, that hitherto riad been fo many
ftumbling-fiones in other orological fyfteras,
Eftablilhei 1 . upon facts, and evidenced by ex-
perience and hift-pry, theie are undoubtedly
in a higher fcale than thofe of Whiflon,
Burnet, Woodward, and Maillet, in which,
facts are ibppofed, and powers and errors
aicribed to Nature, with which Nature ap-
pears to be unacquainted. Indeed, they
are deficient in many points, and very far
from having received from the hands of their
authors that latitude and evidence they arc
capable of, as well in refpect of hiftorical
truth, as of the nature .and fituation of fof-
fils and mineral bodies. This, I am perfuaded,
frauds clearly proved in my Syftem of
the Earth ; which, for the honour of Hooke*
and the improvement of fcience,was published
at Amfterdam in 1763. It will farther
evidently appear, from an improved edition

Sopraacroftacei; Vcn. 1740.




which I am preparing, and from what I fub-
mit here to the judgement of the reader.

That a variety of parallel and horizontal
ilrata are produced, by various caufes, at the
bottom of the fea ; that earthquakes have
broken, difordered,' and faifed large parts of
them above its level; that volcanos work
both under and above the fea; and, that
many foffils are daily produced and accumu-
lated by them into hills, high-towering over
the former plains till rain and water level
them again to the ground ; thefe are unde-
niable fails, and, when properly attended to,
with a due refpect to fome other phaenome-
na, not only fupport the orological hypo-
thelis now under coniideration, but moft cer-
tainly give ftrongly marked out-lines of Na-
ture's own fyflem.

This fyftem we cannot be thoroughly ac-
quainted with, if thefe out-lines are not
filled up with variety of obfervations ;
they alone can give it life, and make it a
true picture of the fubterranean kingdom.
Left xvhere philofophers have left it hi-
therto, it is but a faint conjectural fketch ;
thus finimed, it will get the exactnefs of a



pi&ure, drawn and coloured after Nature;
and prove of nearly the fame advantage to
miners and philofophers, as well-delineated
anatomical tables are of to furgeons and

I (hall point out where this fyftem was
deficient, and by that means flate where it
remains fo (till.

The problem to be refolded was, in ge-
neral, laid down upon too narrow princi-*
pies. It was only to explain the origin of
the inequalities, and of the fea-mells con-
tained in their various parallel ftrata. This,
indeed, is but part of the queftion. The
higher metallic and Jimple mountains ; their
fiflures and veins ; their rocks, which never
contain any adventitious organic body ; their
different relative fituation, in refpedl to them-
felves, and to the many marine or other
beds which are incumbent on them ; have
not been properly attended to : till very
lately, we were entirely deftitute of fcien-
tific and intelligible defcriptions of moun-
tains and mines, and the refpective natural
iituation of their beds and rocks. This de-
ficiency has been, of late, perceived and fup-
6 plied

*vi PREP A'd-fe

plied by fome ingenious writers, of different
nations, as will appear from the books already
mentioned. The profpect has widened, and
\ve cannot poffibly, henceforth, afcribe the
origin of the many rock and ftone beds to a
iingle caufe; whether our favourite iyftem
be an-immediate creation, or a general flood,
or a general and fucceffive conflagration ;
nor are we to liften to philofophers, who
boldly could tell us, fome years ago, that
porphyry is a red mafs, filled with petrified
points of echinites; that columnar balalt-
mafles are tubular corals ; that angels and
devils have been the iubaltern architects of
the mountains, and many other fuch ab

$u* Ipfe mlfernma vidl.

The hitherto-neglecled native place of
g& 'foffils, to ufe the phrafe of Shake*
fpeare, gives the lie direEt to fuch magifterial
nonfenfe, and tells aloud to every one>
who is willing and able to hear, that Na*-



ture, in different times, and under different
circumftances, by the folvents of water and
fire, uniformly produces, and has produced,
that variety of foffils, which caps the furface
of the earth and fills our mineralogies. The
determination of thefe various circumftances,
under which Nature produced and depofited
them, is, in refpect to the foffils, what the
Linnaean Sexual Syftem is to the plants;
and {hews not what every foffil is good
for, or compofed of but a probable rule, by
which to find and to purfue them under
ground, and by which we may judge of their
origin and antiquity ; advantages, which can
never be expected from our mineralogical
fyftems, eftablimed merely upon form, co-
lour, and chemical aflays j and which will,
perhaps, fome day or other, make thefe en-
quiries more acceptable and famionable.
Much has been done that way, but much is
ilill left for pofterity ; for which I refer the
reader to Baron Bern's and Ferber's accounts
of the Hungarian and Bohemian mines,
to my Preface added to them, and to the
vaft book of Nature, which lies before us.

2. The

xviii PREFACE.

2. The earthquakes and volcanos, being
the chief vifible and powerful caufes of the
inequalities and fhattered condition of the
furface of the earth, fhould long ago have
engaged the philofophers to enquire into
their nature and effects. Hypothetical theo-
ries we have in abundance ; nay, we may
at leifure hours in our clofets very eafily
invent new ones, without improving fci-
ence. But have we facls enough, well exa-
mined and well defcribed? Have we clofely
attended to their various effects and circum^
frances? Did we make fair allowances for*
them, when we attempted to apply them to
our orological fyftems ? Had we from juft ob-
fervations abftracted infallible characters, by
which we were enabled to difcover their for-
mer deftructions and creations, in thofe parts
where hiftory left us in darknefs? Surely

Mr. La Con&amlne fairly acknowledges,
that he and his fellow academicians were un- "
acquainted with the volcanic productions,
when they were fent to Peru, and frequently
encamped for weeks and months on Pi-




chlncha, Cotopaxi, and Chimborafo ; which
are, perhaps, the moft remarkable and in-
ftruclive volcanos in the whole world.

Ant. Lazaro Moro ventured in 1 740 to
afcribe all the ^ratified fecondary mountains
to volcanic eruptions ; but he did not prove
his aflertion ; and thus convinced nobody ;
nor ever will, in refpect of thofe beds,
which vifibly are produced and depofited by
the fea.

Count Buff on ' in 1749 prefumed to fay of
all the volcanic mountains, and the new-
raifed iflands, that " they are without
'* parallel beds, and that their materials and
" fubftances are deftitute of any regular
" pofition, prefenting only the difcrder of
'* irregular eruptions." But what volcano,
or what new-raifed ifland, had he or other
Naturalifts examined ? None.

Mr. La Condamine, after having feen Italy
in 1755, feems to have been the firft who.
obferved, and told the public, that all tha
environs of Naples are volcanic ; and that

1 Hift. Naturelle, Edit, de Paris,

b the

xx. P Pv E F A C E.

the volcanic grounds reach from thence to the
very gates of Rome, mid its neighbourhood,
at Frafcati, Grotta Ferrata, Caftel-Gandolfo,
Albano, Tivoli, Caprarola, Viterbo, . and
Loretto ; thefe have never been noticed
by hiftorJans as being at all fubject to vol-
canic eruptions x . In this particular he
may, perhaps, have been improved by the
Learned in Italy, fuch as P. la Torre % Giov.
'Targioni Tozzetti 3 , and Giov. drdumi, who,
about that time, publifhed their mine*-
ralogical obfervations on feveral parts of
Italy: " but he was certainly the firft, who,
* on this fide of the Alps, in Dauphine,
" Provence, and feveral other places, found
marks of ancient volcanos ; fo evident,
" that his only aftonifhment was, that thefe
" his conjectures (hould appear new, and
be thought whimiical, in a country, where,
*' according to his opinion, in order to form
" the like conjectures, it is fufficient merely
6 to open one's eyes 4 ."

1 LaCondamire'sTour to Italy, 1763, 9.125.

a Stcriadel Vefuvio, 1756.

3 Viaggi di Tofcana. Firenze, 1751 54, 6vol. 8vo,

La Condamine's Tour, p. 134, 135.



About the fame time, and during Mr. La
Condamine's abfence in Italy (1755 or 1756),
Mr. Guettard prefented to the Royal Aca-
demy at Paris *, a Memoir on the perfeft
refemblance between the Vefuvian volcanic
productions, and thofe which he had found
in Auvergne and on the Mont d' Or.
Similar difcoveries have iince been made
in many other parts of the world ; in which,
except thefe unnoticed monuments, no hifto-
rical records were left, as memorials of for-
mer volcanic conflagrations.

Father La Torre s Hiftory of Vefuvius,
and fome modern defcriptions of ./Etna and
Vefuvius, though jufily confidered as claffi^
cal performances, and written with much
hiftorical learning, candour, elegance, and
ingenuity, did not enlarge the views of phi-
lofophers, nor fpread any remarkable new
light on the fubject. They were highly de-
ficient in a mineralogical refpecl; nor had
their authors ever troubled themfelves about
the fcientific and intelligible denominations
of the volcanic productions, or their various
1 Mem. de 1' Academic Royale de Paris, 1756.

b 3 fate,

sxii P R E.FA.C E-

:,!i -J \ U

flate, nature, fituation, ground, principles,
and connection with other foffils. Of courfq
they left us in the dark on all thefe fubjects;
told us many a pretty tale of marcafite, bi-
tumen, and precious flones; and were fair
game for the fubtle lava-dealers at Naples,
who, like their kindred Italian antiquity-
fellers, cannot be fuppofed to be remarkably -
confcientious, I have feen dear-bought
pretended Vefuvian precious ftones, which,
upon nearer examination, were found to be
artinciarglaffes ; and fome tables, inlaid with
pretended Vefuvian and Sicilian lavas ? which,
for the greater part, were extremely apocry-
phal, or confided of marbles.

Mr. 'Defmare/tj an eminent mineralogift,
who was employed for fome time to examine
the natural productions of France, obferved
that fome mafies of prifmatical bafakes in
Auvergne are immediately connected with the
larva's "and other volcanic foflils of that coun-
try -/and, being in their fubftance and colour
lb.~ nearly related to them, he ventured in
1768 the hypothecs, " that this fort of

<' ftonc is belonging to, and produced by,

PREFACE. xxiii

st the volcanic lava-currents V I had ever
isrfto rniv/ noij^nnoo rme
fince the year 1767, or ever fince my exa-
mination of the volcanic productions in
/ i i ^-1 V133V? B ynnrn cU oloJ
Hefle, obferved the fame phenomenon ; and

being convinced, by a variety of facts, that,
betides the falts and metals, many other fof-
fils receive a determined form by fufion and
cooling, as well as by their folution in aque-

b' J T

ous folvents; I was the more ilruck by this

coinciding obfervation, and faw no reafon

s<A n\ fcoHoi 11 -i \ /i -^l i; ? fl f ?fl y

why thefe problematical rocks fhould not be

. 'EpniifK
henceforth confidered as cryftallized lavas.

Accordingly I communicated in 1769 an"acV
count of the prifmatical bafaltes at Felfoerg,
and other places in Hefie, to the Royal So-
ciety *; and, with fome further particulars,

to Sir William Hamilton, and to the Royal

j8r '^


O ^ I

Society m Gottingen 3 .

If it deferves any praife, to have firft hit
upon a lucky hypothecs, it cannot poffibly

be denied to Mr. Defmarejl ; and I may be

..onn ; pi

1 Explicat. des Planches de 1'Encyclop. liv:^VJt
Par. 1768.

1 Philof. Tranf. TO!. LXI. and Ferber's Letter V.
3 German Memoirs of the Royal Society at Got-
i, Vol. I,

b 3 allowed


allowed to have fome fhare in it, for being,
in point of time, anterior to fo many late
difcoverers of Volcanos and volcanic Bafaltes;
for having confirmed it by fair observations ;
and, finally, for having improved it by fome
new fafts and views; which, in my late Ac-
count of the German Volcanos, I have laid
before the public. Their chief purpofe and
tendency is, the conjecture, " that the prif-
" mat teal bafaltes, being, in thofe places
" where I obferved them, and in many
" others, near or below the level of the fea,
" are to be confidered either as lava- cur-
" rents, cooled in fea- water, or cooled in
" themfelves under ground without any
" eruption V The fame reafons will fland
for Meff. Ferber* and Defmsireft 3 , and for
me % in refpect to the firft fcientific de-
fcriptions of the various volcanic, or volca-
nico-marine, or volcanic-paraiitical foffils,

- jv

1 Account of fome Gennan Volcanos,

a Letters from Italy. ,

3 Memoire fur les Volcans en Auvergne. .

4 See Account of German Volcanos, and tlic Notes
and Index to this tranflation.



found " in the feveral volcanos of Italy,
France, and Germany; by which the purfuit
of tllefe enquiries and enlarged views, for the
improvement of fcience and fome of the me-
chanical arts, is made eafy and popular.

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