페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

boiler in ceaseless activity, and the surface and submarine currents as the pipes, the one carrying the heated waters of the tropics into the frozen regions, the other bringing back into the tropics the cold waters of the polar zones.

The presence or absence of the cold or warm currents explains the difference which we remark in the same latitude in the temperature of different countries of the earth. In general the climate of islands is milder than that of continents, and the western coasts of continents are warmer than the eastern. North America, in particular, presents this double phenomenon, the reason being in the difference of currents that wash its shores. The eastern shore, separated from the Gulf Stream by a branch of the polar currents, has a much colder temperature than the western, which is washed by the Gulf Stream of the Pacific.

It is to the influence of the great Gulf Stream of the Atlantic, which, we have seen, coasts along the western shores of Europe, that the inhabitants of those shores enjoy a climate more mild than those of the interior, or of the eastern corresponding regions of the two worlds.

Alexander Humboldt has made a thermometric chart of the globe from the mean temperature of the principal localities. He has connected by lines called isothermal all the places in which the temperature is the same. Now the isothermal lines do not by any means follow regularly the direction of the degrees of latitude. Taking as a starting point the mean temperature of 50°, we have the cities of New York, Dublin, and Sebastopol in the same isothermal line, although Sebastopol is situated on the 44th parallel, say 2° north of New York, and 9° south of Dublin. Think that Ireland and Scotland are situated nearly under the same latitude with Siberia, and then compare them! The maximum heating and cooling of the earth takes place in the months of August and February, and the maximum heating and cooling of the sea is a month later, in September and March. This difference arises from the different conducting powers of the two.

The configuration of the shores of America influence powerfully the climate of our countries, in forcing to the north and east the equatorial current_an extensive sheet of warm and shallow water, that the trades drive from Africa to America, and which, increased by the tribute of the Amazon and Orinoco, enters the sea of the Antilles and Gulf of Mexico to start again soon by the northern current of the Gulf Stream, and the eastern current of the middle Atlantic.

The Gulf of Guinea exercises on the climate of South America an analogous influence, and one not less worthy of notice. The warm waters of the southern latitudes accumulated in this immense reservoir are continually driven from the east to the west, to the shores of La Plata and Patagonia, where, on this account, the winter is so mild and pleasant.

Thus, without tiring, these currents and counter-currents go; they are the wonderful agents in establishing the equilibrium of the world, whether they course over the surface, or dive to the mysterious depths; whether they carry to the poles the vivifying rays of the tropical sun, or bring back to the tropics the refreshing waters of the poles. The same powerful hand that has thrown forth worlds, and created the invisible infusoria, guides in their harmonious course these powerful ocean rivers, and preserves their periodical revolutions in unchangeable regularity.

The study of the winds and currents of the sea could not remain long in the elevated, but sterile domain of pure theory. Gifted with a practical genius peculiar to his race, Maury soon searches for the application of these discoveries, and then, thanks to the Wind and Current Charts, traced by this wise meteorologist, the passage between the two worlds becomes much shorter. The voyage from New York to the equator, for example, is shortened eight days; and the vessel that sets out from London for San Francisco will, in this long voyage, save about five weeks, if it follows faithfully the course marked out by the wise American. Is not the Gulf Stream, by its well-defined course and the deeper color of its waters, a constant guide to the navigator ? Once it was feared in New York that a transatlantic steamer* was shipwrecked in the Gulf Stream. Maury being asked, points out, by the aid of his calculations, the precise place where the disabled vessel could be found. A steamer is sent out to the search and finds it at the indicated point. What a wide future opens itself to a science which now can give such astonishing results. It was

* The San Francisco, with a regiment of U. S. troops on board.

also by following the instructions of Maury that the recent expeditions sent for the search of Sir John Franklin have made such remarkable progress in the geography of the Arctic regions; and that Captain M'Clure, after having first of all made the tour of the north of America, from Behring's Straits even to the Straits of Melville, found again Baring Island, or Banks's Land—seen at a distance in 1820 by Parry—and discovered on the 26th of October, 1850, the famous northwest passage, such a long time and so vainly sought for.

The recent researches made in regard to the currents and the bottom of the Atlantic have also led to the laying down of an electric cable between the two worlds. The day, without doubt, is not far distant when, from acquired experience and more thorough study, a new trial will be crowned with success, and when this ubiquitous and wonderful agent will constantly carry instantaneous messages from one hemisphere to the other.

The air and water being better understood, will contribute more and more to make man the lord of creation, in allowing him to use as his vehicles and servants these powerful natural forces that the Creator has placed at his disposal, and which are still so imperfectly understood. It is thus that meteorological studies offer, both to the philosopher and poet, an inexhaustible source of discoveries and inspirations, and to the economist immediate and practical applications that are appreciated by numbers and dollars.

Such, in fine, is the résumé of this magnificent system of meteorology. Oceanic currents, aerial currents, waters, winds, atmosphere, land and sea, all are held together; our globe in its different parts appears as a harmonious whole.

Lieutenant Maury will be regarded as the most active promoter and the most illustrious representative of these beautiful discoveries, of which some perhaps are only grand hypotheses, foresights of a sagacious and elevated genius whose penetrating view pierces the vail and leads experiment. Meteorology is but the child of yesterday, and the discoveries which remain to be made in it exceed without doubt those already accomplished. What mysteries besides will iť not yet give man to penetrate! Science will always find the grain of sand before it to arrest its progress, to which the fury of the ocean yields. When Maury finds in his path one of these barriers

that his genius, all strong and subtle as it is, cannot surmount, the wise mariner, less wise than religious, prostrates himself and adores. When, on the other hand, with bold hand he lifts a part of the vail of nature a cry of admiration escapes him, and his style, without effort, partakes of the most elevated poetry. Then the philosopher disappears and gives place to the poet, when the one often aids the other, and lends to it its wings; then science, laying aside its dryness and its prose, becomes poetry.

After having written his “Explanations and Sailing Directions” and his “Physical Geography of the Sea,” Maury has a right to exclaim as Galien: “I have just chanted a hymn to the Creator.” To which magnificent hymn, notwithstanding our incompetence, we have endeavored to add in these pages our prosaic and humble strophe.

M. Julien has shown himself to be the worthy interpreter of the director of the Meteorological Observatory of Washington. It belongs to an officer of the French navy to explain to us, with his gifted mind, the conceptions of a seaman that the Old World envies to the New. M. Julien has acquitted himself of this delicate task, and one often arduous, in worthy emulation of such a model, by bringing to science the tribute of his own observations; and his book is as full of interest as it is suitable to elevate the soul.

France was slow in joining America, England, and Germany, in the study of Meteorology. The recent works of MM. Jamin, Babinet, Hailly, etc., the work of M. Julien, as well as the new works on the practice of this science by Maury, the director of the Observatory, prove victoriously that we have at last aroused from our indifference, and that in the domain of meteorology, as well as that of all the other sciences, France has at heart, if not to seize, at least to dispute the palm.

FOURTH SERIES, Vol. XIII.—25

Art. II.-A PLEA FOR THE PREACHER'S WIFE.

The Itinerant's Wife; her Qualifications, Duties, Trials, and Re wards. By Rev. H. M. Eaton. New York: Methodist Book

Concern. THE Methodist Episcopal Church has many excellent devices for promoting the acceptability and usefulness of its ministers. From their entrance upon their work they are placed under a wholesome mental and theological training, and so long as they are standard-bearers in Emanuel's host, are subject to habitual and strict, though affectionate, supervision. The presiding elder visits each preacher periodically, surveys his work, and, giving him the benefit of a larger experience, encourages or counsels him. Yearly the minister meets his brethren, holds profitable converse with them, and listens to discourses specially applicable to his office and its responsibilities. The periodical and general literature of the Church richly supplies him with instruction. These aids are valuable and timely. He who would be a successful minister of the New Testament needs all these helps to faithfulness and usefulness, added to his own selfculture, prayer, and watchfulness.

But another than the preacher largely needs the aid and sympathies of the Church. The PREACHER'S WIFE holds a relation to the Church second only to that of her husband ; not an official relation, it is true, in the same sense as his; nor may she be subjected to the same training and supervision. But the necessity that is laid upon her, for her husband's and the Gospel's sake, to walk circumspectly and in the fear of the Lord continually, constitutes a strong claim upon the affections and prayers of the people of God. If she errs in lip or life, if she is lacking in wisdom or meekness, in courage or prudence, upon her husband will the community too often visit her shortcomings. Her position is as delicate as it is responsible, and it is difficult to conceive of circumstances in which a pious woman can be placed where judicious counsels and tender sympathy are so much needed. If the preacher's wife does not meet the high requirements of her position, the measure of the preacher's comfort and usefulness will be small indeed.

« 이전계속 »