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relative weights; and we are hence incapable of determining, as I took leave to observe on a former occasion, whether they be matter at all, whether mere properties of matter, or whether modifications of some etherealised and incorporeal substrate, combining itself with the material mass, and exciting many of its most extraordinary phenomena. It is at present, however, very much the habit to generalise them into one common origin; and to conceive the whole as modified results of matter, or of the gravitating property of matter. Thus, the attractive powers of chemical affinity and of electricity are identified in the following passage of Sir Humphry Davy's valuable " Elements of Chemical Philosophy :"—" Electrical effects are exhibited by the same bodies when acting as masses, which produce chemical phenomena when acting by their particles; it is not improbable, therefore, that the primary cause of both may be the same."* And in like manner, in an adjoining passage, he suggests that all the various properties or essences that have thus far passed in survey before us, may be nothing more than the general attractive power of matter, though he admits that at present we are incompetent to determine upon the subject. "With regard to the great speculative questions, whether the electrical phenomena depend upon one fluid in excess in the bodies positively electrified, and in deficiency in the bodies negatively electrified, or upon two different fluids capable by their combination of producing heat and light, or whether they may be particular exertions of the general attractive power of matter, it is, perhaps, impossible to decide, in the present imperfect state of our knowledge."f
And hence, heat, in the view of Sir Humphry Davy, Count Rumford, and various other justly celebrated chemists and philosophers of the present day, coincidently with the doctrine of the Peripatetic school, is a mere property of matter, and not a substance sui generis, as was contended for by the Epicureans, in opposition to the disciples of Aristotle, and is contended for by the disciples of Boerhaave, Black, Crawford, and most of the chemists of our own times. The cause of heat, among those who deny it a substantive existence, consists in a vibrating motion of the constituent particles of the heated body, too rapid to be traced by the eye. And as it is known to every one that bodies in general, as they become heated, occupy a larger space, and have their particles more widely repelled and separated from each other than in a colder temperature, it has of late become a favourite doctrine that the repulsive power, which in our last lecture we noticed to exist throughout matter, depends altogether upon the property of heat; inconsequence of which Sir Humphry Davy uses heat and calorific repulsion as synonymous terms, and hence regards heat and gravitation, or general attraction, as antagonist powers.
There is much plausible reasoning to be urged in favour of this hypothesis. It will as readily account for many, perhaps most, of the phenomena which accompany bodies in their change from one temperature to another, as the position of the substantive form of heat, and has some advantage in point of simplicity; but it is opposed by a variety of facts of so stubborn and intractable a nature, that no efforts of ingenuity have hitherto been capable of bending them into the service of the new doctrine. I observed, for instance, in our last lecture, that when two plates of glass are within a ten thousandth part of an inch of each other, they cannot be made to approach nearer without a strong additional pressure. I observed, farther, that Professor Robison has calculated the extent of this pressure from actual experiment, and finds it amount to not less than a thousand pounds weight for every square inch of the glass. Now this resistance or repulsive power between the two plates of glass takes place equally under an air-pump and in the fullest exposure to the air of the atmosphere, but it appears to cease underwater. By what cause the repulsion is excited in the two former instances, or disappears in the latter, we know not; but it does not seem possible for any ingenuity of argument to connect this repulsive power with heat, whether regarded as a substance or a mere property.
Heat, again, which undoubtedly makes the particles of iron repel each other, so that given weights of them occupy a larger space—makes the particles of a ball of clay, on the contrary, attract each other into a closer approximation, so as very considerably to lessen its dimensions; and it was on account of this peculiar property that Mr. Wedgewood selected this last material for the purpose of forming his celebrated pyrometer, or instrument for measuring intense heats, the increase of the heat being indicated by the decrease of the mass of clay.
So water at about 42° of Fahrenheit, which forms its medium of density, begins to expand upon exposure to heat, and continues to expand in proportion as additional heat is applied; but below 42° it begins to expand also upon exposure to cold, and continues to expand in the very same ratio upon the application of additional cold, till at 32° it freezes and becomes fixed. This curious phenomenon has never been accounted for. If calorific repulsion produce the expansion above 42°, what is it that produces the same effect below I We can, perhaps, explain the cause of the expansion during the act of freezing, from the peculiar shape of the crystals which the water assumes in the act of consolidating; but this explanation will in no respect apply to the expansion of the water when it reaches the freezing point. In this curious and unillustrated fact cold appears to be as much entitled to the character of a repulsive power as heat. i
For these and numerous other reasons, therefore, heat is even at the present moment usually regarded, not as a mere quality of body produced by internal vibration, and forming an antagonist power to the attraction of cohesion, but as a distinct and independent substance. The sources of heat are various, though by far the principal reservoir throughout the whole solar system is the sun himself, which Dr. Herschel believes to be perpetually secreting the matter of heat from those dark and discoloured parts on its surface which we call spots, by many astronomers regarded as volcanoes, and many of which are larger than, and some of them five or six times as large as the diameter of the earth! This material Dr. Herschel supposes to be first thrown off in the form of an atmosphere, and afterward this atmosphere to be diffused in every direction through the v/hole range of the solar empire: and, in the Philosophical Transactions for 1801, he has endeavoured to show that the variation in the heat of different years is owing to the more or less copious supply of fuel which such spots communicate.
This opinion I at present merely glance at; as it is my intention on a future occasion to examine its validity, as well as to trace out the other sources from which heat is derived, and to take a survey of the laws by which it is regulated. It will form a progressive part of that investigation to follow up the general nature of light; to try the question whether it be a substance or a property; and if a substance, whether distinct from or a mere modification of heat. I shall at present only observe, that, in one of the latest opinions of the philosopher to whom I have just adverted, it is not only a substance, but the source of all visible substances, and the basis of all worlds.
Dr. Herschel has recently taken great pains to prove, but with no small degree of repugnancy to a former hypothesis of his, that the luminous fluid which so often appears in the heavens on a bright night, and shoots streaks athwart them, is diffused light, existing independently of suns or stars, though perhaps originally thrown forth from them; another kind of ethereal matter being sometimes united with that of light, and hence rendering it at times capable of opacity. In this diffused state he calls every distinct mass a nebulosity; he conceives all its particles to be subject to the common laws of gravitation, or the centripetal force; and that certain circumstances, unknown to us, may have occasionally produced a nearer approximation between some particles than between others; whence the diffused nebulosity is, in such part, converted into a denser nucleus, which by its comparative prcponderancy, must lay a foundation for a rotatory motion, and attract and determine the circumjacent matter still more closely to itself, and consequently, diminish the extent of the nebulous range.
The nuclei thus arising may sometimes be double or triple, or still more complicated; and whenever this occurs, the nebulosity will be broken into different nebulae, or smaller nebulous clouds; and if some of them be much minuter than others, the minuter may at length attend upon the larger, as satellites upon a planet: and Dr. Herschel gives instances of all these phenomena actually completed, or in a train of completion, in different parts of the visible heavens.
Such he submits as his latest opinion of the general construction of the heavens; believing stars, planets, and comets to have originated, and to be still originating, from such a source; the nebulous matter contained in a cubical space seen under an angle of ten degrees demanding a condensation of two trillion and two hundred and eight thousand billion times before it can be so concentrated as to constitute a globe of the diameter and density of our sun.
Some of these masses of light are indistinct and barely visible even by Dr. Herschel's forty feet telescope; and he hence calculates, that if a mass thus traced out contain a cluster of five thousand stars, they must be eleven millions of millions of millions of miles off. M. Huygens entertained an analogous idea: and conceived that there are stars so immensely remote, that their light, although travelling at the rate of eleven millions of miles in a minute, and having thus continued to travel from the formation of the earth, or for nearly six thousand years, has not yet reached us.
But this sublime conception is of much earlier origin; and it is due to the magnificence of the Epicurean scheme to state that it is to be found completely developed among its principles. Lucretius has beautifully alluded to it in lines of which I must beg your acceptance of the following feeble translation, the only difference being, that lightning or the electric fluid, is here employed instead of light, at least by Havercamp; for Vossius, in the Leyden edition, gives us light for lightning, reading lumina instead offulmina.
The poet is speaking of the immensity of space:—
The vast whole
From this immense range of nebulous light Dr. Herschel derives comets, as well as stars and planets, believing them, indeed, to be the rudiments of the two latter; and he has especially noticed, as originating from this source, the well-remembered comet that so brilliantly, and forso long a period of time, visited our horizon during the close of the year 1811; which he conceives will be converted into a stellar or planetary orb as soon as its luminous matter, and especially that of its enormous tail, shall be sufficiently concentrated for this purpose. This tail he calculated, when at its greatest apparent stretch in October of the same year, at something more than a hundred millions of miles long, and nearly fifteen millions broad, though its bright or solid nucleus or planetary body was not supposed to measure more than four hundred and twenty-eight miles. Its perihelion path, or nearest approach to the sun, is stated at a distance of ninety-seven millions of miles, its distance from the earth at ninety-three millions. The comet of 1807 approached the earth within sixty-one millions of miles, or about a third nearer the earth, and that
* Omne quidem vero nihil eat quod finiat extra.
t De Ber. Nat. L 1060.
of 1680 within a sixth of its diameter, or as near as 147,000 miles, its tail being of a like length.
There is one comet, however, that we seem to be somewhat better acquainted with than with this that paid us so near a visit, or indeed than with any other, from its having approached us visibly for four times in succession, if not oftener. It was towards the beginning of last century that Mr. Halley was struck with the remark, that the general elements and character of the comets observed in 1531, 1607, and 1682, were nearly the same; whence he concluded that the whole formed but one identical body, that took about seventy-six years to complete its eccentric orbit; and hence, although in consequence of this eccentricity, and its travelling amid a range of heavenly bodies that are altogether invisible to us, and whose influence seems to bid defiance to calculation, it is difficult to form an estimate of its progress, be ventured to suggest, that it would appear again, making due allowances for these incidents, towards the close of 1758, or the commencement of 1759: and he had the high satisfaction of seeing his prediction verified; the comet passing its perihelion March 12th, 1759, within the limits of the errors of which he thought his results susceptible. It is apparently this comet, which at this last period only excited the curiosity of astronomers and mathematicians, that in 1456, or four revolutions earlier, towards the close of what are called the dark ages, spread such consternation over all Europe, already, indeed, terrified by the rapid successes of the Turkish arms, that Pope Callixtus was induced to compose a prayer for the whole western church, in which both the Turks and the comet were included in one sweeping anathema.
Admitting the truth of Dr. Herschel's hypothesis, as we are now contemplating it, it is possible that some of the lately discovered planets, which are now attendant upon the sun, were formerly comets, whose orbits have for ages been growing progressively more regular, as well as their constitutional rudiments more dense; and such, indeed, is the opinion of M. Voigt, and of various other philosophers on the continent.
The object of the present and the preceding lecture has been to submits sketch of the most obvious properties belonging to matter, so as to enable you to obtain a bird's-eye view of the general phenomena it is capable of assuming, and the general changes it is necessarily sustaining. From the qualities I have placed before you, of passivity, cohesibility, divisibility, and attractions of various kinds, must necessarily result, according to the intensity with which they are called into action, the phenomena of liquidity, viscidity, toughness, elasticity, symmetry of arrangement, solidity, strength, and resilience. But the powers which thus perpetually build up the inorganic world, and to this our survey has been entirely confined, perpetually also destroy it: for the whole, as I have had occasion to observe, is a continued circle of action; a circle most wise, most harmonious, most benevolent: and hence as one compound substance decays, another springs up in its place, and can only spring up in consequence of such decay.
There is, however, another lesson, if I mistake not, which we may readily learn from these lectures, however imperfectly delivered, and which is altogether of a moral character: I mean that of humility, in regard to our own opinions and attainments; and of complacency, in regard to those of others. After a revolution of six thousand years, during the whole of which periodof time the restless ingenuity of man has been incessantly hunting in pursuit of knowledge, what is there in physical philosophy that is thoroughly and per fectly known even at the present moment 1 and of the little that is thus known, what is there which has been acquired without the clash of controversy and the warfare of opposing speculations t Truth, indeed,—for ever praised be the great Source of Truth, for so eternal and immutable a decree —has at all times issued, and at all times will issue, from the conflict; but while we behold philosophers of the highest reputation, philosophers equally balanced in the endowment of native genius, proved by the great teacher Time to have been alternately mistaken upon points to which they had liou
estly directed the whole acumen of their intellect, how absurd, how contemptible is the fond confidence of common life! Yet what, indeed, when fairly estimated by the survey that has now been briefly taken of the sensible universe,—what is the aggregate opinion, or the aggregate importance of the whole human race! We call ourselves lords of the visible creation: nor ought we at any time, with affected abjection, to degrade or despise the high gift of a rational and immortal existence.—Yet, what is the visible creation J by whom peopled t and where are its entrances and outgoings? Turn wherever we will, we are equally confounded and overpowered: the little and the great are alike beyond our comprehension. If we take the microscope, it unfolds to us, as I observed in our last lecture, living beings, probably endowed with as complex and perfect a structure as the whale or the elephant, so minute that a million of millions of them do not occupy a bulk larger than'a common grain of sand. If we exchange the microscope for the telescope, we behold man himself reduced to a comparative scale of almost infinitely smaller dimension, fixed to a minute planet that is scarcely perceptible throughout the vast extent of the solar system; while this system itself forms but an insensible point in the multitudinous marshallings of groups of worlds upon groups of worlds, above, below, and on every side of us, that spread through all the immensity of space, and in sublime, though silent harmony declare the glory of God, and show forth his handy work.
There are some subjects on which the philosopher is obliged to exercise nearly as much imagination as the poet; for it is the only faculty by which he can expatiate upon them. Such is a great part of the magnificent study upon which we have touched in our preceding lectures. Space, immensity, infinity, pure incorporeal intelligence, matter created out of nothing, innumerable systems of worlds, and innumerable orders of beings;—where is the mind strong enough to grapple with such ideas as these? They at once entice and overwhelm us. Reason copes with them till she is exhausted, and then gives us over to conjecture. Hence, as we have already seen, invention at times takes the place of induction, and the man of wisdom has his dream as well as the man of fancy.
Let us descend from such magnificent flights: let us quit the possible for the actual; and equally incapable of following up the fugitive material of which the visible universe consists, into its elementary principles and collective mass, let us examine it as far as we are able, in the general laws, structure, and phenomena it exhibits in the solid substance of the globe on which we tread
It is this inquiry that constitutes the science of Geology, a brief outline of which is intended as a study for the present lecture;—a science than which few are of more importance, but which is only at present in its infancy, and of course almost entirely indebted for its existence to the unwearied assiduity and discoveries of modem times.
The direct object of geology is, to unfold the solid substance of the earth —to discover by what causes its several parts have been either arranged or disorganized—and from what operations have originated the general stratification of its materials, the inequalities of its surface, and the vast variety of bodies that enter into its make.
In pursuing this investigation, many difficulties occur to us. The bare surface, or mere crust of the earth's structure, is the whole we are capable of boring into, or of acquiring a knowledge of, even by the deepest clefts of volcanoes, or the deepest bottoms of different seas. It is not often, however, that we have the power of examining either seas or volcanoes so low as to their bottom. The inhabitable part of the globe bears but a small proportion