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ART. II.-1. Papers on subjects connected with the duties of the
Corps of Royal Engineers. Vol. II., London 1838. (On Hurricanes, by Lieut. Col. Reid, R. E.) 2. An attempt to develope the LAW OF STORMS by means of
facts, arranged according to place and time ; and hence to
tical use in Navigation, illustrated by charts and woodcuts. Second edition, with additions. By Lieut. Colonel W. Reid,
C. B., F. R. S. (of the Royal Engineers.) London 1841. 3. An Enquiry into the nature and course of Storms in the Indian
Ocean, south of the Equator, with a view of discovering their origin, extent, rotatory character, rate and direction of progression, barometric depression, and other concomitant phenomena: for the practical purpose of enabling ships to ascertain the proximity and relative position of hurricanes ; with suggestions on the means of avoiding them. By Alexander Thom, Surgeon
86th, (Royal County Down) Regt. London 1845. 4. Journal of the Asiatic Society, ( Ten Memoirs on Storms, by
Capt. Piddington.) 5. The Horn-Book of Storms for the Indian and China Seas.
By Henry Piddington, Sub-Secretary to the Asiatic Society, and Curator of the Museum of Economic Geology of India. Calcutta 1844.
STORMS AND HURRICANES! Surely we “ought to consider with ourselves; to bring in storms and hurricanes among our readers, is a most dreadful thing; for there is not a more dreadful wild-fowl than your hurricane living, and we ought to look to it.” We must therefore, we opine, “write us a prologue, saying thus, or to the same defect, ladies or fair ladies, we would wish you, or we would request you, or we would entreat you, not to fear, not to tremble ; our life for yours. If you think we come hither as a hurricane, it were pity of our life.” Such is a Shaksperian version of a scene that was, or might have been, enacted in our deliberative Council. But seriously; although undoubtedly there be nothing more terrific to the imagination than the “war of elements," there is yet one thing which, to our thinking, is more fearful in the endurance, more horrid in the remembrance, and the recurrence of which will be more earnestly deprecated by those who have once experienced both; and that is a dead and longcontinued calm.
One, accordingly, who was no stranger to the mechanism of human feelings and affections and passions, when he would depict to us the full unmitigated horrors of the sea, never dreamt of setting before us the lightning's flash and the thunder's roar, masts in splinters and sails in ribands, “ waves mountain high," and troughs deep as yawning caverns. He knew well that in the midst of the elemental strife there is earnest and intense excitement, and that wherever there is excitement, there is life,-troubled, tossed, agonized life if you will,—but still active, hopeful life. Coleridge could have delineated the storm, as Virgil and Falconer and a host of others had done before him, and as an inferior “ artist” would certainly have done in carrying out the design of the Ancient Mariner ; but no delineation of such a scene could have come within reach of the concentrated horror of these lines, which once read, can never be rooted out of the memory :
Down dropt the breeze, the sails dropt down,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion ;
Upon the slimy sea.
And every tongue, through utter drought
ar mentes, this prefer the titless. This i
Then passed a weary time. Each throat
How glazed each weary eye! But if there be, as we hold there is, in the very nature of our mental constitution, a ground of preference of the storm to the calm, this preference is greatly enhanced, by the important truth involved in the title of one of the works now under review ;-THE LAW OF STORMS. This title is no vain assumption; for it is a plain fact that those laws which have been preecribed to the hurricane by Him who “walketh on the wings of the wind,” have at last been discovered by men; and that we have now the prospect of being able to render in all cases comparatively harmless, and in many even useful, that which has so often made “ the timid shriek and the brave stand still," and has consigned so many thousands of our fellows to their last resting-place in the mighty deep, “unknelled, uncoffined and unknown.”
The history of philosophy during the last two centuries has been a continual comment upon the dicta on which Lord Bacon laid the foundation of newly organized science, that nature is to be overcome only by obeying her, and that that which is in contemplation a cause, becomes in practice a rule. We say not that Bacon was the first to make such discoveries as these. Indeed we know not that there ever was a time when any
servant just so far as he would be hers, and that his purposes could be effected only in accordance with her methods. No man, we suppose, ever thought of floating himself over a river by laying hold of a mass of lead or iron. The oxolactIXOS who is represented as having laid hold of the anchor in a shipwreck is an object of ridicule to every school-boy. But while Bacon did not discover the principle on which he has reared the sublime structure of his Magna Instauratio, he is fairly entitled to the scarcely inferior credit of having been the first to direct the attention of mankind to it as the one principle which is to be the director and guide of all their researches and all their operations. It is to a faithful abidance by this principle that we owe those great discoveries which adorn and bless our age. Nature had for centuries employed the power of heat in causing the sudden and violent expansion of certain subtances; and had, by means of the mighty power thence accruing, overwhelmed cities, and even shaken the foundations of the everlasting hills. As dutiful scholars we obeyed her as our teacher ; we learned the lesson from her; we became
possessed of her secret; by obedience we conquered her; and now that same power is subject to our control. It conveys ourselves and our goods over land and sea, raises the mineral treasures from the depths of the earth, and aids us in all our operations, from the most ordinary of our daily domestic avocations, up, (or shall we say down ?) to the greatest of our national undertakings. This same Nature had a little page, a dapper sprite was he and a nimble ; from the beginning of the world he had been employed as her messenger in all matters that required more than winged speed. His name was lightning then. We cast an eye of covetousness on this little slave. We
transferred to us. He wears our livery now; and speeds along his wiry path, bearing our messages of information and enquiry and congratulation. We have given him the name of Electricity.
It is very worthy of observation that one of the first subjects to which Lord Bacon applied his newly fabricated instrument of investigation seems to have been the wind. We are not aware of the date of the composition of the Historia Ventorum ; but in the collective editions of his works it is only separated from the Novum Organum by one short tract. We know not how we can more properly introduce our subject, (for we must acknowledge that we have been but trifling hitherto, and have not introduced it yet), than by transcribing the opening paragraph of this work, in which he sets forth the importance of the subject, and the difficulties of the investigation.
“ Venti humanæ genti alas addiderunt. Eorum enim dono ' feruntur homines et volant; non per aërem certe, sed per ' maria ; atque ingens patet janua commercii, et fit mundus
pervius. Terræ autem (quæ gentis humanæ sedes est et • domicilium) scopæ sunt; eamque, atque simul aërem ipsum, ' everrunt et mundant. Attamen et mare infamant, alioqui • tranquillum et innoxium; neque alias sine maleficio sunt. "Motum, absque opera humana, cient magnum et vehementem; . unde et ad navigandum et ad molendum, velut operarii, con• ducti sunt: et ad multo plura adhiberi possunt, si humana non ' cesset diligentia. Natura ipsorum inter secreta et abdita reponi • solet: nec mirum, cum nec aëris natura et potestas cognita ' quoquo modo sit, cui famulantur ac parasitantur venti, ut . (apud poetas) Aeolus Junoni. Primariæ creaturæ non sunt,
nec ex operibus sex dierum : quemadmodum nec reliqua • meteora quoad actum, sed post-nati ex ordine creationis." *
• The winds have added wings to the human race. For by their favor men are borne along and fly; not indeed through the air, but over the seas; and the great
We cannot but regard it as also in the highest degree worthy of remark, that Bacon, in a sentence, lays down for enquiry the very question whose investigation has led, after the lapse of more than two centuries, to the discovery of that law by which a great and important class of the winds, (that class whose province it is, maria infamare) is regulated.—“ Cum
progressus sit semper a termino, de loco primi ortus, et tan• quam fontibus alicujus venti, quantum fieri potest, diligenter « inquirito. Siquidem videntur venti famæ similes. Nam
licet tumultuentur et percurrant, tamen caput inter nubila • condunt. Item de progressu ipso; exempli gratia, si Boreas
s flaverit Londini, biduo post.”* This question seems to comprise the germ of the whole subject; and however it might be answered in regard to the ordinary land-winds that blow at York and London, it is clearly and decidedly shewn with respect to that particular class of winds called hurricanes, that they do not progress in a direct line, but with a rapid motion of rotation, combined with a comparatively slow motion of translation. In fact the motion of the air in such a storm seems to differ little from that of a common spinning-top.
Ceu quondam torto volitans sub verbere turbo
gate of commerce is opened, and a highway is established over the world. They are further the cleansers (ad. lit, the besoms) of the earth, (which is the abode and house of the human family.) and they sweep and cleanse it, and at the same time the air itself. Yet they produce evil effects on the sea, which were else calm and innocuous. Nor are they in other respects harmless. They excite great and violent motion, without any labor of man; hence they are engaged as our workmen, both for propelling our ships and turning our mills ; and they may yet by the care of man, be employed in many other works. Their nature is generally considered to be among the secret and hidden things : and no wonder, since the nature and power of the air, whose servants and atteudants the winds are, (as according to the poets Æolus was of Juno) are by no means ascertained. They are not primary creatures, nor of the work of the six days, as neither are other meteors as regards their action; but they are derived from the order of creation.
* Since motion always begins from a terminus, let diligent enquiry be made, so far as is possible, respecting the place of first origin, and as it were the fountain, of any wind. For indeed the winds seem to be like rumor. Like her they rage and run, but like her they hide their heads in the clouds. Also regarding the progress of the winds; as, for example, whether a strong north wind which blows at a certain day and hour at York, blow two days after at London.
† And as young striplings whip the top for sport