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In the year 1724, a naval action took place between a French frigate and a Dutch merchantman : the French, however, had it all their own way; for as soon as the Dutchman showed fight, they poured & broadside into him and sunk him, though they saved the crew. In a few days afterwards, the sunken vessel came up again, just as a dead body comes up after having lain a certain time in the water, at the distance of 240 miles to the westward of where she went down, right in the very teeth of the current running into the Mediterranean Sea,-proving the fact of an under current.
I must now say a few words respecting Inland Lakes. The Caspian Sea, the Great Salt Lake in America, where the Mormons are, with others that we know of, are lakes of salt water not connected with the sea. It is a curious fact, that wherever there is an inland lake into which rivers run, but out of which no rivers flow into the sea, that lake must be salt water. I confess it seems hard to believe, but such is the case.
And it is also found that the water in these lakes is of the same density as the water in the ocean. And if there were not other processes going on, such lakes would become a mass of salt; but there are other processes going on, and these great principles are equipoised.
The waters of the Caspian Sea are the same height now as they were thousands of years ago, so that the supply and demand are nicely balanced. · I have now briefly to introduce to you another subject;—I cannot say distinct from it, but connected with it in the marvellous. I have taken you into many of the oceans, I am now going to take you into the air,—that subtle, invisible, wondrous fluid, in which we live, and move, and have our being, and which is now pressing upon you and me at this moment with a weight of many tons. At times it is so calm and tranquil that the little lily of the field is not moved by it; at other times it is one of the most powerful engines that Almighty God is pleased to put in motion. I must go on through the atmosphere, this breathing place which is supposed by some to be 50, and by others 500 miles high. You see they have got a deep sea-line to measure the ocean, but they have got nothing on which to go up and measure the air.
There are three atmospheric phenomena, called cloud rings, which encircle the earth, but not uninterruptedly; there are breaks in them over some portions of the land, but none over the sea. These are the conductors of the winds, the lungs of the universe. The equatorial cloud belt varies from 60 to 400 miles, sometimes being above and sometimes below the equinoctial line. This is the region of perpetual clouds and perpetual calms, also of incessant rains.
Travelling North and South at different periods of the year, these rings occasion the rainy seasons in North and South America; in some parts of the world, as you are no doubt aware, they have their rain at one season.
Some of you may be inclined to ask what the cloud rings have to do with the wind ? they have everything to do with it. Hitherto the winds and wares have been looked upon as symbols of uncertainty; as fickle as the winds and waves is a common expression; but as science has progressed, we have discovered their motion. And though we can never be said to hold the winds in our fists, yet are they subject to regular and fixed laws, as certain as the planets in our system, or the stars in the firmament. The trade winds are always found in a certain portion of the globe,and always move in one regular course. The north-east winds blow always from the Torth to the equator, and the south-east trade winds come up to the equator. Day after day, year after year are these winds continuously blowing, so that the mariner is sure when he arrives at a certain latitude to meet his faithful friend.
What, then, becomes of these winds ? it may be asked. All winds, in general, travel from the poles to the equator, but these always go in a slanting direction; it is supposed the rotatory motion of the earth, the intense heat of the sun in the tropics, and electricity combined, effect this purpose of the Almighty. Well, these winds meet this equatorial cloud, this eternal vapour, with a rush, and strange to say, they ascend up into the heavens, and this south-east trade wind becomes a south-west wind, supplying the north upon the same principle as the under current of the ocean,-one wind blowing ons way and another blowing the other. These trade winds extend about two miles high.
This marvellous arrangement cannot be without a design. These winds are not sent merely to convey the mariner over the ocean, or for the cooling of one part of the earth, and the warming of another, they have still more remarkable functions to perform; they are the rain carriers, taking it up at one place, and setting it down at another. The south-east trade wind passes over the Patagonian plains, and supplies the whole of North America with rain. It then becomes a south-west wind, and brings to us softer and milder winters.
Now in conclusion, allow me to point out the bearing of all this on practical navigation. If the philosopher can now sit in his closet and calculate where the currents are in every part of the ocean, he holds a key which will greatly facilitate the transit of vessels from one part of the globe to another. In former times our ships in passing from England to America, went blundering on against wind and current, and accidents were frequently occasioned by their shooting across the Gulf Stream and becoming stranded upon the American coast without knowing where they were. But now they steer to Newfoundland, and take the Gulf Stream in its weakest part, and accomplish the voyage in less than half the time they used to do. A short time ago an American steamer was overtaken in a violent stort in the Atlantic; she was seen in a very disalled condition by another vessel which could not render her any assistance, but which sailed to New York, and reported to the harbour master the longitude and latitude where they last saw her. Maury set to work, made his calculations, sent out two stips with full directions, and they found the steamer within ten miles of where he said they would.
A sailing match took place in 1854 with four clipper ships from New York to California, a voyage of 15,000 miles; they never saw land from the time they left New York till they dropped anchor in Francisco Bay. What a triumph of science is this, that a little band of men shall travel 15,000 miles, seeing nothing but the ocean and the sky above their heads, with the sun and moon and stars ! But how much greater a triumph is it, when by following the directions given to them on a chart by Maury, they made this voyage in about 92 days; one of thetn made it in 92 days, the second in 93} days, innagine this, only a day and a half difference! The next man owing to a mishap he met with, was ten days longer. While the fourth, who departed from his directions got into the Doldrums, or calms (a Fery appropriate word by the way), and was 25 days belind.
Is not this a great benefit to us who have friends abroad, and who is there among us who has not a brother or some old schoolfellow in India, or some other foreign land? Is it not a benefit' to get a lotter every month instead of every six months ? I, who have four sons abroad, feel that it is such indeed. Are they not borne to us on the wings of the wind? These investigations to my mind have been most charming; and I am sure, so far from
making atheists and irreligionists, are drawing back the minds of the people to the greatness and love of that God who on the one hand points to the works of His creation, and on the other to the word of His revelation. May we read them both in meekness and love!
(Abstract of a Lecture delivered in the Public Hall, Wigan.)
MR. HULL said his subject was—"Glaciers, and their effects in ancient and modern times ;' and having asked his hearers to accompany him to the mountainous district of Switzerland, he described the celebrated “Mer de Glace," one of the most remarkable glaciers in the world. The lecturer alluded to the theories that had been propagated with regard to the motion of these vast fields or rivers of ice, stating that the general one received was that the glaciers were the outlets of the great quantities of snow and ice which fell in the higher latitudes. From indications found in different parts of the world, geologists had come to the conclusion, that at a former period of the world's existence, the present valleys and flat portions of the globe, were entirely submerged, nothing but the tops of the mountains being visible. Upon this, he remarked that the physical condition of sea and land were such as prevailed at the latest geological period, immediately preceding the creation of man. can well imagine how unsuitable to his consitation,