صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

that lie hid in the bosom of the ground; and everything that has life, or that with all these, favoring circumstances and influences can be endued with the power of growth, springs up and smiles and sparkles in the face of the bright sunshine, and the ten thousand drops of dew, and nods and waves with gladness before the balmy breeze. Everything then gives assurance of ripe fruits and golden harvests.

As in the seasons of the rolling year there always comes a necessity of spring-time and seed-time, when old things passing the earth shall be renewed and reclothed in fresh veraway, dure, so in the spiritual history of man, the absolute necessity of spring-time is sure to come. In the unregenerate, unsanctified state, all men are as the winter of the year, when earth is clothed with snows, the trees are stript of verdure and fruit, and the fields and streams are bound up with the frosts and ice of biting, blasting cold. When the command to make a new heart and a new spirit, and to repent and be converted is obeyed, then is the spring-time of the spiritual life. And thereafter, just so often as declension and sin separate the poor guilty soul from God, the source and fountain of heat and life, and drive it into the frosts and snows of winter, just so frequently returns the absolute necessity of the renewing, reclothing power of a spiritual spring.

The morning of a millennium, then, is yet to come, and revivals of religion, pentecostal effusions, are to be its harbinger. "O Zion, arise and shine, thy light being come." God is now plainly interposing to give a check to worldly aspirations and hopes. Revivals began to dwindle and disappear when this secular prosperity of a half score of years commenced. The year 1743 is sadly marked in the history of Zion, by the fading away of heaven's peculiar light of salvation. Just one century afterward, in 1843, apparently for another reason we see the spiritual heavens again begin to darken.

The idol Mammon, which has drawn away the hearts of his people, God is breaking in pieces, as Moses demolished the golden calf with Israel of old. Shall not the thought of this sin and the drinking of its bitterness be sufficient to bring Israel, now prostrate before the Lord, to deep penitence and renewal of covenant vows? May many hearts all over this land join together before the Lord in saying: "For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake will I not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth!"


Explanations and Sailing Directions to accompany the Wind and Current Charts, and published by authority of Hon. John C. Dobbin, Secretary of the Navy. By M. F. MAURY, Lieut. U. S. N., Superintendent of the National Observatory.

MAN has as yet but partially learned the great truth which Nature has ever been striving to teach him, that he no sooner becomes acquainted with the laws which govern any of her operations, than they become subservient to his use, and reveal to him the secret that they were made for that very end. The way, and the only way, which conducts him to this mastery over the powers of nature, lies through the slow but sure process of induction, as prescribed by Lord Bacon.

The method pursued in constructing Maury's Wind and Current Charts, is in exact accordance with the Baconian philosophy. It consists, first, in collecting all the facts of the case; secondly, in classifying those facts, grouping under distinct heads such as are similar; and, thirdly, in observing what language they speak-what new truths they reveal. These constitute principles, and principles in science, when they are applied to practical use, become rules in art.

The first example of the application of this method to the phenomena of the Ocean, was set by Wm. C. Redfield, Esq., of New York, more than twenty years since, in his investigation of the phenomena and causes of Atlantic Gales. After any storm which he proposed to investigate, he collected as many as possible of the log-books of vessels that had been caught in the storm. These he submitted to careful and diligent inspection, noting in what direction each vessel took the wind; how that direction changed during the progress of the storm; and with what degree of violence the wind blew at successive periods. Such a comparison between vessels situated in different parts of the storm, revealed to him the great fact, that the storm was a whirlwind spinning on its axis like a top, and at the same time making a slow progress along its path. The same comparison, extended to other storms, indicated an unexpected uniformity in their modes of action; a uniformity which further revealed the surprising fact, that these apparently law

less and destructive blasts, which seem to be out of the course of nature, are in fact governed by laws no less fixed, than those which control the movements of the planets. They were found to rotate always from right to left; to move with greatly accelerated velocity towards the center of the storm; and to pursue along the coast of the United States, paths which, when plotted on paper, appeared remarkably similar to each other, and of a definite order of curvature. The inquirers into natural phenomena are learning to think that there is nothing "lawless" in Nature, since whenever she is interrogated with precision, her responses are equally precise; and so often has it appeared that events of the natural world which were deemed the most capricious, are essential parts of an established order of things, that it is as good philosophy as poetry to say, that not a dew drop glistens, or a leaf trembles, but helps to fulfill some grand design.

By this happy application of the principles of the inductive philosophy to ocean storms, a new field of philosophical inquiry was laid open, which has since been most sedulously cultivated, not only by Redfield himself, but by Reid, Espy, Thom, Piddington, Dové, and others. The result of these labors has been a set of rules, which will help the mariner who encounters a storm, so to steer his vessel as to escape its violence, while without such a knowledge of the laws of storms, he might run directly into the jaws of destruction.

Although the method pursued by Lieut. Maury in constructing his Wind and Current Charts, is similar to that of Mr. Redfield in investigating the laws of storms, his immediate object is different. It is not so much to assist the mariner to escape the violence of the elements, as it is to enable him to turn them to his own advantage. Instead of regarding them as impediments to his progress, with which he is forced to maintain a desperate and endless warfare, he thus learns to make them quicken his speed, by so timing his voyage and steering his vessel, as ever to sail with the wind and float with the current. Lord Bacon places it among the first of his philosophical maxims, that man is the servant of Nature, and can do nothing only as he is obedient to her mandates; and this is true while he is learning her secrets. Nature, until her laws are discovered, is the tyrant, and man the slave; but the instant these laws are understood, man becomes the master and Nature the humble menial, to bear his messages or to drag his car. The lightning, before his terror and his scourge, now submits itself to his authority more truly than in fabulous story it awaited the nod of Jove.

The situation of Lieut. Maury at the grand depository of the log-books of our national marine, would seem to have given him special advantages for such an investigation; but the facts thus amassed in the old log-books were so deficient in precision or defective in details, that he found it impossible to derive from them sufficient data for completing the proposed charts. He next brought the subject before the American Association, (then called the National Institute,) who expressed a deep interest in it, and appointed a committee to urge its importance upon the attention of the government. The Hon. John Y. Mason, then Secretary of the Navy, entered warmly into the plan, as did those enlightened men who succeeded him in office. In 1845, the labor was commenced anew, and a fresh supply of log-books was procured from our men of war. In 1848 were issued the first three sheets of the Wind and Current Charts. They contained only the tracks of men of war, but their utility was at once apparent, for they enabled Mr. Maury to point out at once a shorter, quicker, and better route to Rio than that usually pursued. This was announced as a discovery, and it was soon verified. A Baltimore vessel was the first to try this new route. She crossed the line the 24th day out, (it has since been done in 18 days,) the usual time before being 41 days, and made the trip to Rio and back in 75 days, a period by many days shorter than had before been occupied by the same voyage. Navigators began now more fully to comprehend the object and to understand the utility of these researches, and came forward with offers of hearty and gratuitous coöperation. In a short time a large fleet, without the promise or hope of pecuniary reward, were lending their zealous aid. Ship after ship joined the corps of observers; so that more than a thousand navigators are busied night and day in all parts of the world in making observations, and collecting materials of great value to science, commerce, and navigation.

The marked approbation which the illustrious Humboldt (who is better qualified than any other man that has ever lived, to form a just estimate of the plan) gave to these researches, contributed much to increase their popularity both at home and abroad. He says in a letter to the U. S. Consul at Leipsic, "I beg you to express to Lieut. Maury, the author of the beautiful Wind and Current Charts, prepared with so much care and profound learning, my hearty gratitude and esteem. It is a great undertaking, equally important to the practical navigator, and for the advance of meteorology in general. It has been viewed in this light in Germany by all persons who have a taste for physical geography. The shortening of the

voyage from the United States to the equator, is a beautiful result of this undertaking. The bountiful manner in which these Charts are distributed raises our expectations still higher."

In the year 1851, a proposition came from the British government, inviting the coöperation of our government in estab lishing a uniform system of meteorological observations, both on sea and land. The opinion of Lieut. Maury being requested, he expressed himself very friendly to the object, but thought there would be insuperable difficulties in carrying the plan into execution here, since a great part of the meteorological observations in the United States, are not subject to the control of the national government, being under the direction of state governments, or learned institutions, or private indi viduals. Still a uniform system of observations might be arranged between the British and American governments, which should be fully carried out on board their respective ships of war and at their military posts; and contemplating from such a system great benefits to navigation and to science, he proposed a meteorological conference-that England, France, Russia, and other nations, be invited to coöperate with their ships, by causing them to keep an abstract log, according to a form to be agreed upon, and that authority be given to confer with the most distinguished navigators and meteorologists, at home and abroad, for the purpose of devising, adopting, and establishing a universal system of meteorological observations for the sea as well as for the land. The British proposition did not look much to observations to be taken at sea, while the plan of Lieut. Maury contemplated from them the finest results. He urged the utility of a conference upon the subject of a uniform system of meteorological observations on board British and American ships, as well as at British and American posts, stations, and observatories, because on board every properly appointed ship of both nations, all, or nearly all, the observations, which would probably be recommended for this universal system, are already made; it being the custom to keep a log book on board every ship, and to enter in it remarks and observations upon the winds, the weather, and the sea; and all that is requisite to impart a new and greater value to these observations is, that they should all be made at the same time, recorded in a stated journal-the "abstract log" kept for the purpose and then be made available by being returned to the office appointed to receive them.

The Hon. Wm. A. Graham, then Secretary of the Navy, with an enlightened comprehension of the subject and of the advantages it promised, returned an answer to the proposal

« السابقةمتابعة »