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great importance in the economy of nature. with a similar body in motion! “No descripThe purer water is, the more rapidly does it tion,” says Sir John Ross, can convey an pass off in vapour; and it may be questioned idea of a scene of this nature; and as to the whether, if the ocean were composed of fresh pencil, it cannot represent motion or noise. water, the mass of waters could be maintained And to those who have not seen a northern in its present condition, owing to the greater ocean in winter-who have not seen it, I should rapidity with which the process of evaporation say, in a winter's storm-the term ice, exciting would be carried on. And thus, as has been but the recollection of what they know only well observed by Dr. Prout, “there is reason
at rest in an inland lake or canal, conveys no to believe that the saline matter contained in idea of what it is the fate of an Arctic navi. the ocean contributes in no small degree to gator to witness and to feel. But let them the stability of the water; and that an ocean remember that ice is a stone-a floating rock of fresh water would undergo changes which when in the stream, a promontory or an island would probably render it incompatible with when aground-not less solid than if it were a animal life. The waters of such an ocean land of granite. Then let them imagine, if might even be decomposed, so as seriously to they can, these mountains of crystal hurled interfere with the other arrangements of through a narrow strait by a rapid tide, meetnature."
ing, as mountains in motion would meet, with The freezing point of water is also affected the noise of thunder; breaking from each by its saline contents. The freezing point of other's precipices huge fragments; or rending fresh water is, as is well known, 32° Fahren. each other asunder till, losing their former heit; that of sea water is 28° or 29'. The equilibrium, they fall over headlong, lifting waters of the ocean, therefore, require a greater the sea around in breakers, and whirling it in degree of cold than those of a fresh-water lake eddies; whilst the flatter fields of ice, forced to convert them into ice. From this circum- against these masses or against the rocks by stance, and from the great depth and extent the wind and the stream, rise out of the sea of the ocean, its waters resist freezing more till they fall back on themselves, adding to effectually than even running water, and are the indescribable commotion and noise which therefore rarely covered with ice, except in attend these occurrences." So violent indeed latitudes where the cold is exceedingly in- are these concussions, that, as Captain Scoresby tense and of very long duration. The bene- says, " the strongest ship can no more with. ficial results accruing from this natural ar. stand the contact of two ice-fields than a sheet rangement are that the surface of the ocean, of paper can stop a musket-ball." that important "highway of nations,” is less liable to be encumbered with ice, and the
“On the frozen deep's repose,
'Tis a dark and dreadful hour, traffic on its waters to be impeded, than would
When round the ship the ice-fields close have occurred bad other conditions prevailed.
To chain her with their power!” Icebergs, or ice mountains, are sometimes formed in the sea itself by the accumulations Such is the ice: and yet, as Sir John Ross of ice and snow, but more frequently, perhaps, further has observed, “it is far from being consist of glaciers which have been formed on an unmixed evil; and estimating all our adthe shores, and which, being undermined by ventures with and among it, I might not be the sea, or intersected by the melting snow wrong in saying, that it had been much oftener flowing through their crevices, become de. our friend than our enemy. We could not, tached, and, falling into the water, are floated indeed, command the icebergs to tow us along, out to sea. Icebergs are particularly abun- to arrange themselves about us, so as to give dant in north latitude, 69° or 70°; and they us smooth water in the midst of a raging sea ; are very numerous in Baffin's Bay, where they nor, when we were in want of a harbour, to are sometimes met with two miles in length, come to our assistance, and surround us with and nearly half that width. They are also of piers of crystal, executing in a few minutes frequent occurrence in Hudson's Bay,
works as effectual as the breakwaters of Ply. An ice field, when in motion, coming in con- mouth or Cherbourg; but they were comtact with another moving in a contrary direc- manded by Him who commands all things, and tion, produces a dreadful shock. Let the they obeyed.” ” reader picture to himself a body of more than The almost perpetually varying hues disten thousand million of tons in weight meeting played at the surface of the ocean, owe their existence in great measure to the mere reflec- Brazil, the waters of the sea have been obtion of the changing skies in the water. Thus, served to present a deep red hue, which is for instance, an apparently dark inky-coloured supposed to arise from the occurrence of sea is usually indicative of an approaching minute molluscous animals, which float in storm; not, however, because the water is countless myriads in that part of the ocean ; really blacker than usual, but because it re- and it is more than probable that the Verflects the general hue of the atmosphere near milion Sea, near California, has derived its the horizon. In some cases, however, these name from a similar cause. hues are attributable to local causes ; for the The waters of the ocean are in perpetual greenish tint which usually occurs in shallow movement,-from the effects of the tides, as water, appears to be owing to the yellowish sand well as of winds and currents. It appears in the bed of the ocean, which, mingling its from the researches of Mr. Russell, that the hues with the blue tints of the latter, imparts attraction of the heavenly bodies raises the this hue to the whole mass. But what, then, it vast mass of the waters of the ocean to a may be asked, is the real colour of the ocean? certain elevation, thus forming one mighty The various particulars connected with this wave, designated as the great primary wave. subject, which have been collated by M. Arago, The waters, being thus raised above their will form the best reply to this inquiry. “Mr. ordinary level, are immediately impelled by Scorseby (he observes) compares the general their natural gravity again to return to their tint of the Polar Seas to the blue of ultra- wonted level, and the velocity with which this marine. M. Cortez considers the waters of the is effected will be dependent on the height to Mediterranean to resemble a perfectly clear which the mass of waters has been raised. solution of the finest indigo; he also describes This moving mass of water, in obedience to them as of a bright sky blue. Captain Tuckey the laws of hydrostatic equilibrium, spreads in characterizes the waters of the Atlantic Ocean every possible direction, extending round from by the term bright azure. It would, therefore, the spot of its original elevation, without appear that the colour of the ocean, when its oscillating or retrograding, and not only waters are unmixed with foreign matter, may moving onwards itself, but imparting motion be considered as sky-blue, of greater or less to every particle of the water through which intensity, according to the proportions of re- it passes. It is to the arrival on our shores of flected light.”
this grand primary wave, that the phenomenon The reflection of different hues from the of high water, or flood tide, is due; and, on the bottom of the sea, is not, however, the sole other hand, when the vast mass of waters is cause of the various colours observed in some drawn to its elevation in the open ocean, the parts of the ocean; for it appears that, in water recedes from the shores, and it is then many instances, this arises from the presence low water, or what is called ebb tide. This of innumerable living creatures of minute size. mighty tidal wave does not, however, reach our Thus, in the Polar Seas, strongly marked shores until fifty or sixty hours after its forma. bands, or stripes, of green-coloured water occur, tion, having in the interval moved in every the tint of which is due to the presence of possible direction, and with a velocity varying myriads of semi-transparent medusæ of a from ten to one hundred miles an hour. yellowish colour, and which, when blended The absolute height of the tides at par. with the blue colour of the ocean, produce this ticular places, is dependent on local causes, green tint. In other parts, the ocean is of a and mainly on the configuration of the land. brown colour, which also appears to be due to Thus, in deep bays or inlets, especially when the presence of innumerable minute animals ; contracted like a funnel, the convergence of and to a similar cause is attributable the the water causes a great increase of the range milky-white hue which prevails in some locali. between high and low water. Thus, at Chep. ties. The latter was observed in a remarkable stow, the tide rises from 45 to 60 feet; and in degree by Captain Tuckey, off Cape Palmas, the Bristol Channel, the tide has been known on the coast of Guinea, where the vessel ap- to rise 70 feet; but its ordinary rise is 33 feet. peared to float in milk. On examining the In the Thames, at the London Docks, the water, this white appearance was found to average range is about 22 feet; at Portsmouth proceed from multitudes of minute animals and Plymouth 12 feet 6 inches. The waves of floating on the surface, which concealed the the sea which are caused by the action of the natural hue of the water. Off the coast of wind are of a totally different character from
the great tidal wave, and have been denomi. The long-celebrated whirlpool in the Straits nated secondary waves.
of Messina One of the results of the researches connected
“Deep Charybdis, gulphing in and out”with the laying of the Atlantic Telegraph, has been the bringing up specimens of the sea
appears to have owed much of the terror
with which it has been invested, to the igno. bottom by means of a simple contrivance known as “ Brooke's deep-sea sounding appa
rance and inexperience of the mariners by ratus.” The first specimen was described as
whom those seas were navigated in ancient
times. “a fine chalky clay.” All the specimens ob
One of the most remarkable whirlpools in tained were forwarded to Professor Bailey, and when examined under his microscope they
the European seas, is the Maelstrom, of which
we give an illustration. It is situated near the were found not to have "a particle of sand or
island of Moskoe, on the coast of Norway. gravel mixed with them,” but to be mites of seashells, perfect in form, and as unworn and un
This whirlpool is caused by the flood-tide
setting from the south west among the Laffstriturated as they were when alive. It is also now an established fact that there is no
den Isles, which, especially when it meets with running water at the bottom of the deep sea.
a strong gale from the north west, produces a The agents which disturb the equilibrium of
great agitation of the waves, forming a whirlthe sea, giving violence to its waves and force
pool, the roaring of which is heard at the
distance of many miles. The Maelstrom is to its currents, all reside near or above its surface: none of them have their home in its
dangerous to vessels which may approach too depths. These agents are, its inhabitants, the
near its disturbed waters; and it is said that moon, the winds, evaporation, and precipitation,
whales and seals when caught within its eddies,
are unable to extricate themselves from des. with changes of temperature-such as heating
truction. here, and cooling there. The waves, even in their most angry moods, are incapable of reach- “When the dire Maelstrom in his craggy jaws ing far down in the sea. In short, there is Engulfs the Norway waves with hideous sound, reason to believe that the bottom of the deep In vain the black sea monster plies his paws sea is everywhere protected from the violence Against the eddy that impels him round; of its waves, the abrading action of its currents,
Racked and convulsed, the ingorging surges rar, and the rage of the forces which are ever at
And fret their frothy wrath, and reel from shore të
shore." play on its surface, by a cushion of soft water.
The waters, like the face of the earth, teem “ The water is calm and still below,
with living creatures: and the bed of the ocean For the winds and waves are absent there; And the shells are as bright as the stars that glow,
in many parts is scarcely less beautifully In the motionless fields of the upper air."
clothed with submarine vegetation, than the
surface of the dry land is with verdant herbs The ocean phenomenon of whirlpools appears and stately trees. Some of the algæ, or marine to be caused by currents encountering sub- plants, are adapted to flourish only in situsmarine obstacles, which cause them to whirl tions where they are within the range of the round with considerable velocity. When the tides, and consequently are alternately covered movement is rapid, the centre forms the most by the waters, and subjected to the action of depressed portion of the whirlpool, and objects the atmosphere; whilst others inbabit the which are drawn within its reach, are engulfed oceanic valleys, thriving at the remarkable or sucked in at that point. Several small depth of 1,000 feet below the surface. The whirlpools, but of sufficient power to whirl extraordinary size attained by some marine round boats of moderate size, occur among plants, in a great degree, however, acconnts the Orkney Islands. Among the Western for this; as an instance of which we may Islands also, a whirlpool of some size occurs, mention the Macrocrystis pyrifera, said to vary which is called the Whirlpool of Coryvrechan; in length from 500 to 800 feet, or more. it is situated in the narrow channel between Marine plants, not being subjected to the same Scarba and Jura, and is caused by opposing vicissitudes of the seasons as land plants, are currents encountering a submarine rock of not liable to similar interruptions in their conical form, which rises abruptly from the growth; which accordingly continues in winter bottom of the ocean (which here has a bottom as well as in summer, and in some species proof 600 feet) to within 90 feet of the surface. ceeds with great rapidity.
Such is a brief recapitulation of some of the leading features of the world of waters. Well may we say with the Psalmist : They that go down to the sea in ships, and occupy their business in great waters; these men see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep.” Not that it is requisite for us to “occupy our business in great waters” in order to become acquainted with the wonders of creation as displayed in this department of the natural world: a simple drop of dew on a blade of grass, a flake of snow, a shower of rain falling to the earth, a small portion of water poured from one vessel to another, the process of evaporation perpetually carried on about and around us, each and all of these, though less striking on account of their fami. liarity, equally bear the impress of Divine wisdom, power, and goodness. Let us not only
acknowledge this, but let us also feel it; and
May measure out the ocean deep-may count
HE veteran missionary, the Rev. an enemy. Yet it was part of their system of
William Ellis, has just published belief, as well as their machinery of governanother remarkably interesting vol
ment: and, when heathenism was supreme, this ume, entitled “Madagascar Revi- trial was sometimes demanded by accused or sited."*
It would be superfluous to commend suspected persons, as a means of demonstrating the volume to our readers; but we may intro- innocence. As part of the system which the duce it to their notice by quoting an extract or
heathens now endeavour to maintain, it is still two.
desired, and I have heard the Government Mr. Ellis thus expresses his judgment of the publicly asked to re-establish it in the land. present state and prospects of the people :- “How darkening to the mind, and destructive
"The changes in the government of Mada- to all humane feeling, the native superstitions gascar have been great, and, with the exception were, which underlaid and perverted the public of theincrease of the army, to which it is reported and individual life of the nation, may be inthat 17,000 men were added last year, and for ferred from the opinions and feelings still which the Government may have good reasons, cherished in reference to the Tangena, as above these changes appear to have been beneficial. described. The heathenism of Madagascar is The continued prohibition of the ordeal of the antagonistic to all that is foreign, and conseTangena, which was abolished by the late quently incapable of enlightenment from comking, is a decision favourable to the interests
It has opposed all ideas except such as of justice and humanity. Persons accused or germinated within its own obscure and consuspected of crimes were often required to fined circle of thought-a dreary region of drink this poison, as a means of showing their night which admitted of no dawn. Education guilt or innocence. If the sign of innocence is co-extensive with Christianity, but is exdid not appear, they were put to death on the cluded from heathenism. To be able to read is spot with great barbarity. If they died under regarded as a mark of sincerity in the Christhe poison--no unfrequent occurrence--that tian, but of incipient apostacy in the heathen. was considered a proof of their guilt. Nothing “ This idolatry existed at the time of my could be more fallacious as a means of proving arrival, unaltered in itself; but, unable any innocence or guilt, nor afford a more con- longer to persecute, its high prestige was venient mode of destroying life by poisoning lowered; its power was a thing of the past, * "Madagascar Revisited.” London : John Murray,
and it stood alone in its own weakness, unable