« AnteriorContinuar »
consults the proper evidence, and pretends to no more wisdom than the rest of mankind, may be able to strike some light on," and encouraged thereto by a mathematician of acknowledged abilities, who was so well pleased with the simple manner of explaining the causes, whereby the Earth receives its motions, that he wished to see it published. With this recommendation against such fearful odds, it was that he issued out his prospectus, which was so favourably received as to induce him to proceed.
Jt was intended to go no farther at first than what the prospectús held forth ; and when that had obtained some notice, to bring ont the rest of the System; but it happened, subsequently, the Author met with some' publications on Astronomy, that he was not previously aware of, which agreed in several respects with his ideas: (but those buds were not brought to maturity,) in consequence he thought it most advisable to publish the whole together, by which the connection will be seen immediately, whereby it is expected that this System, or at least a part of it, will the more readily be accepted.
This work is divided into six parts: The First comprehends a superficial sketeh of the Astronomical Systems and various theories from the earliest accounts to the present time; and argumentative reasoning on some parts thereof, which is necessary in a great measure to the explication, and unfolds in part, the meaning of the speculations contained in this volume, of such consequence as renders it absolutely necessary to be seen, to make the subsequent matter more evident.
The Second Part contaies, besides matters of minor considerations, a more particular review of the Newtonian System of Gravity, and opinions on the superior strength of rarefied air.
The Third Part is a discourse on the Tides ; which embraces in a great measure the opinion of Des Cartes ; it being shewn to be performed by mechanical means, and in which it will appear that the want of the true and particular knowledge of the state of the Tides in different parts of the world, must have been the reason which prevented this very ingenious man, who is reported to be the first that ever applied mechanical force for accomplishing Astronomical Phenomena, from following up this doctrine of his to the perfection of the causes of the flux and reflux of the marine fluid. The consideration of the causes of the Tides on this plan will be found the more interesting, as they are connected with that of the Winds, it being a link to the chain, whereby the whole is joined together.
The Fourth Part concerns the Laws which govern the Winds; which exposes the wrong founded opinion of the Trade Winds being effected by rarefaction, and points out a more reasonable suggestion, whereby they are actuated, and proves by demonstration of the past and present, how the Laws which govern the Winds withont the Tropics, will affect them in future: this knowledge will not only prove to be of the most beneficial consequence to navigation ; but also a matter of great importance to agriculture, (the two grand sources of national wealth ;) by foreknowing in what point of the compass the Wind will be at particular times, the farmer will know the best time for tillage and mowing and reaping; because he may hereby prognosticate if the weather is likely to be rainy or otherwise according in what quarter the Wind is to be.
The Fifth lart coucerns the Periodical Malignant Disorders which infect. different parts of the old world, which in this is pointed out all to arise from the venemous matter imbedded in the Lake Asphaltites; and some hints whereby these dreaded disorders may be prevented.
The Sixth Part contains the Scriptural Proofs of the formation of the Earth, and that of a substantial connecting medium. The very remarkable coincidence of the scriptural account of the plain of Shinnar, with its present deplorable appearance and pestilential propensity, agreeing with the recounted.curse, as stated in Genesis, on the devoted cities.
A very interesting translation of some of the Hebrew words in the account of the creation of the world, will be seen in this part, which as it is different from any other, will throw fresh light upon that subject, and is another proof of the wonderful oversight of the greatest men in different ages, how matters of the most momentous consequences escape their penetration, and are left to be developed by so unlcarned a man as the Author.
It is with the greatest diffidence that the New System coutained in this work, as described in plate 2, is offered to the public, which the Author considers to be the most vulnerable part of the whole to be objected to: frail as it appears to him, yet he is in hopes that if the whole of it cannot be allowed, that a part may throw some fresh light to lead some able Astronomer to more favourable conclusions ; but if no part of it can be admitted, the whole
be thrown out without any material injury to the other principles therein contained.
The opinions on the Equinoctiał Gales are liable to correction, in consequence of their coming so seldom, and therefore the observations on them are not to be considered conclusive,
It will be observed that the diagram describing the Tides, is not laid down in the manner that maps and charts usually are, by reason that this is copied from Varenius, and it was not thought proper to deviate from it; so that the planet describir:g the Trade Winds will be understood to turn the contrary way.
As this work contains much more information than what was at first intended, that, concerning the Aurora Borealis, must give way to the more important matter, which it is presumed will more than compensate for it.
The readers of this book who are persuaded of the existence of a medium in -space, are requested to consider that there are some who are of a different opinion, whereby they will see the necessity for the proofs of a plenum.
In the course of this work, the words direct and indirect are frequently used in treating on the Winds, and the power which propels them, which means that when the Wind is acted on at the time the Moon is moving towards the observer above his horizon, it is then direct ; when the power directs the wind towards him across the polar circle or circles, it is indirect.
In the Additional Remarks, will be seen some speculative ideas on the Mariner's Compass.
Any thing herein contained requiring explanation, (freed of expence,) will be duly attended to by the Author: 2, Northstreet, Fxcter.
: PART I.
INTRODUCTORY DISCOURSE :-LIGHT, GRAVITATION, $C.
STRONOMY has always been, and must ever
be considered, the most sublime study of all the sciences; its wonderful phenomena fill us with piety and adoration to the SUPREME BEING, by whose wisdom infinite perfection is displayed, so much so, that the human mind has been ever baffled to comprehend the means whereby these amazing operations are performed.
As it is intended in this work to shew causes and the consequences therefrom, different from any thing heretofore explained, it will be sufficient to take a hasty view of what is called the Copernican system; which I shall do by gleaning the works of some modern writers, by which it appears that Pythagoras, (who learned from Pherecydes, the Syrian,) asserted that “ Fire is in the "midst of the world, and that the Earth moving as
one of the stars, performs a circuit round this “ center, by means of which the changes of day and
night are brought to pass.” And the same author adds “ that many others besides the Pythagoreans,
judged it improper to place the Earth in the center “ of the world.” In the beginning of Sir Isaac Newton's System of the World,
by Maclaurin, he says• This was the philosophy taught of old by Philo. “ laus Aristarchus of Samos, Plato in his riper years, " and the whole sect of the Pythagoreans, and this “ was the judgment of Aniximander, more ancient “ than any of them, and of that wise king of the “ Romans, Nuwa Pompilius ; who, as a symbol “ of the figure of the world, with the Suu in “ the center, erected a temple in honour of Vesta, “ of a round form, and ordained perpetual fire to “ be kept in the middle of it.” When the study of Astronomy commenced is too remote to be ever cleared to our knowledge. The earliest observers of this science, from whom we have any account, appear to have been the Chaldeans or Assyrians, from whom the Egyptians learned; who in their turn appear to have instructed the Greeks, aud through them it became diffused in the different parts of Europe.
Aristotle, Ptolemy, and Tycho Brhae, successively established different systems from the Pytha. gorean system ; so that for near two thousand years the world were led in ignorance of the true motions of the heavenly bodies ; until Copernicus revived the Pythagorean system, which proved the errors of the then prevailing doctrine; yet so great was his fear of punishment in consequence of the superstition of his time, that he suffered his manuscript to lay dormant thirty years, and it was only a few days before his death that the first proof was brought to him ; and so justly were his fears founded, that Galileo was actually thrown into prison by the Inquisition for teaching the Copernican system, and was liberated on the condition of abjuring, in the most abject manner, on his knees, this system as hereşy.
It appears very remarkable, that in the year. that this great man (Galileo) died, 1642, was the same in which Sir Isaac Newton was born, so the interval that the truth lay smothered between the times of these great men could not be long; it happened most opportunely that in this age the world began to be more liberal, and particularly so in