Imágenes de página

ness throughout the whole, which would be as creditable to many writers as it is unworthy of Lord Byron. When we consider the work independent of all comparison with the former productions of its reputed author, we find many pleasing lines: For instance, the first stanza:

• Where the gay spirit of the morning sleeps
On orient vales and Galilean steeps-
Where hoary Lebanon its front uprears,
Ploughed with the furrows of six thousand years-
There is a land in olden records named
By seer and sage, by prophet, pilgrim famed,
Whose thirsty mountains piled in green array,
Drink from its golden source the stream of day,
Whose limpid lakes in solitary pride
Through spicy meads their chrystal waters guide,
And Nature spreads her feast divinely fair,

As if some Deity still lingered there.' And still better the following description of moon-light at sea:

• Who that has traversed on the waters wide,
And marked the silver moon and starry pride
Lave their bright splendours in the ruffled tide:
Who that has seen with poet's frenzied eye,
The midnight glories of a cloudless sky;
Pouring their beacon blaze o'er beach and bay,
To guide that wanderer of the trackless way;
Who that has watched the frolic moon-beamns ride
On the rough ridges of the billowy tide,
Like fairy-lights which come when seamen sleep
To sport in elfin gambols on the deep
Who that has viewed the night's resplendent tire,
Till every feeling kindled into fire;
Would change the rapture of that holy hour,

For sordid joys or charms of pomp or power? These specimens seem the most favourable we could select: yet how little can be discerned in them of the vivida vis animi of Lord Byron!

As to the Tempest,-it is extremely mysterious; and, if the author intended that mystery should form its character and he its sole value, he has succeeded to his utmost wish: for the mystery is quite impenetrable; and other beauty (if that can be called beauty) it has none. It is a story of a shipwreck, and the funeral of a man thrown on shore; and the interest is attempted to be excited by not telling who or what the sufferer was; except that he had some secret grief, which he would not divulge. The poetry is common-placem-and the greatest merit we could discover in the composition is its

comparative brevity; in consideration of which quality we are disposed to be indulgent towards its faults.

In justness to ourselves, we ought to state, that this critique was prepared before the news reached us that Lord Byron bad commenced a suit against the London editor, for having published the two works under his


Art. IV.-An Essay towards accounting for the Coldness of

the Summer of Eighteen Hundred and Sixteen. MAN

ANY conjectures have been formed, concerning the un

common cold of the summer of 1816; but we have seen none at all plausible, except that of the discharge of polar ices into lower latitudes. If it is a fact, that the quantity of ice which floated down from the northern regions into the Atlantic, during the last summer, was much greater than usual; that circumstance alone will be sufficient to account for the inclemency of the season, both in Europe and in America. So plain and simple is this theory, that we should not think of entering into the subject, if we had not something to say, which may enable astronomers, and those who make observations on the revolution of the earth round the sun, either to establish the theory on the basis of mathematical evidence, or reject it as altogether erroneous.

Suppose, then, a very large and unusual quantity of ice to be discharged from the north, and floated down towards the equator, during one of our summers; it will diminish the velocity of the earth's diurnal revolution; but it will not affect her annual motion; and consequently there will not be the same number of diurnal revolutions in the succeeding year as there was in the preceding one; that is, the number of revolutions will be less; amounting in the whole, to a few seconds or minutes, according as the quantity of ice is greater or less. This statement will appear abundantly evident, we think, from the following observations. Suppose a large mass of matter, (of the size of the Alleghany mountain, for instance,) without having any previous motion of its own, to be laid on the equator of the earth; it is evident that she would lose some of her own diurnal and annual velocity, in giving motion to this large mass of matter. Again, if the body be supposed to have the same motion as the earth's round the sun, and is, under these circumstances, placed on the equator of the earth; it is evident, that the earth's diurnal motion alone would be affected; and that this would be di. minished in proportion to the quantity of matter employed in the experiment." Suppose, now, that a mountain of ice were

removed from the north poleand suspended, in an instant of time, over the equator; it is evident, that, to an observer standing on this mountain, the equatorial regions of the earth would appear to move towards the east, with the velocity of more than a thousand miles an hour. For, as this mountain of ice was brought from a region of the earth, which may be considered as having no motion, but the annual motion round the sun, and is suspended over the earth, where the diurnal motion is more than one thousand miles an hour; it is manifest, that, to a spectator on the ice, the earth would appear to move eastwardly more than one thousand miles an hour, and that, to a spectator on the earth, the ice would appear to move westwardly with the same velocity. If this mass of ice be precipitated upon the equator, it will rub along the surface of the earth westwardly, until, by friction, it acquire a motion equal to that of the surface of the earth, where it has fallen;--but, in acquiring this motion, it must diminish the velocity of the earth's diurnal revolution. The very same effect will be produced, if this mountain of ice move slowly along the surface of the earth or ocean, from the north pole to the equator; for, when it arrives at the equator, it will have acquired a motion of a thousand miles an hour, which it had not when it left the pole; and this it could not do, without destroying in the earth as auch momentum as it received itself. The same effect will take place, if the mass of ice proceed to the equator, from a part of the frigid zone, not so far distant as the pole. But it will take place in a smaller degree: For, as, in this instance, the ice has a small motion eastwardly, in consequence of the diurnal motion of the earth where it started, it is impossible for the difference of its motion, and that of the surface of the earth at the equator, to be as great, as if the body had come from the very pole.

In general, bodies moving from high latitudes towards the equator, diminish the velocity of the earth’s rotation on her axis, in a ratio compounded of the quantity of matter and the distance passed over, measured perpendicular to the equator; and vice versa, bodies moving from the equator towards the poles, increase the earth's velocity on her axis in the same ratio. To illustrate this proposition, suppose a body to be taken from the equator, where the velocity of the earth's diurnal revolution is one thousand miles an hour, and to be instantly tranferred to a north or south latitude, where the degrees of longitude are only one half as long as at the equator-it is manitest, that the velocity which it brought with it, being that of the diurnal motion of the equator, would be VOL. IX.


double that of the surface of the earth at this latitude; and, of course, it placed upon the earth, it would begin to move eastwardly with the velocity of five hundred miles an hour; increasing by its friction, the velocity of the earth's rotation on her axis.

If the earth be protuberant at the equator, and flatted at the poles (of which we have no doubt,) it may, at first view, appear unreasonable, that ice should float from the latter towards the former. But this difficulty will vanish, if we consider, that, from the great degree of evaporation in the torrid zone, the sur:ace of the ocean near the equator is kept constantly lower than it would naturally be if such an abstraction of water did not exist: and, besides, a great portion of the vapour, thus elevated at the equator, passes to the poles, and, in the winters, must be accumulated there in the form of snow and ice. It has been discovered, by observing the earth's shadow as projected on the moon's disk, that there is an accumulation of ice at each pole, of at least one thousand miles in diameter, and gradually increasing in height, from the circumference to the centre, or pole itself. Suppose, then, fitteen inches of water to fall on this mighty mass during the winter, and be congealed; it is manilest, that, if this be lused by the heat of summer, it will run down from the centre of the mass, and swell the seas contiguous to its circumference: and thus a current will be produced towards the equator.

It has been a question among philosophers—whether the ice continues to accumulate at the poles, or whether there is as much melted, during the summers, as there is precipitated from the atmosphere, in rain and slow, during the winters? From the principles already laid down, we think this question is easily solved. For, if the polar ices are increasing, then is the velocity of the earth's diurnal revolution increasing also; and of course the number of days in the year; but as this is not the fact, the polar ices cannot continue to augment.

From the principles established above, it follows, also, that, if a much larger quantity of ice should be discharged from the north pole, towards the equator, in one summer than in another, either by the precipitation of mountains of ice into northern oceans, or by any other means, the time of the earth's diurnal revolution would be increased in a sensible degree. For it would require a much less quantity to produce a sensible effect on the diurnal revolution of the earth, than to produce a sensible effect upon the seasons. Let astronomers. observe, then, whether our present year consists of fewer diurnal revolusions than ordinary. If it should be so, the theo ry will be established; if not, it will be overturned.

ART. V.-Reflexions sur une Lettre de Mezeres, Ex-Colon

Français, addressée à M. J. C. L. Sismonde de Sismondi, sur les Noirs et les Blancs, la Civilization de l’Afrique, le Royaume d'Hayti, etc.-L'orgueil est la cause des erreurs de l'homme et de sa misére. Pope-Essai sur l'Homme. Par le Baron de Vastey. Au Cap Henry. Chez P. Roux,

Imprimeur du Roi. Mars. 1816. L'An 13eme. THE

HÊ British system of Colonial policy, operating with the

restrictive regulations generally known by the term of Na. vigation Laws, has had the effect of confining the trade of the greater part of the West India islands entirely to Great Britain and her possessions in Canada and North America. The latter, it is expected, will be enabled to supply the Ca. ribbean Colonies with flour, provisions, staves, lumber, and every article, in short, which has been heretofore furnished by the United States. The vicinity of the Southern States to the West Indies, peculiarly qualifies them for a participation in this trade; as the natural advantages they enjoy, enable them to enter into it on the lowest possible terms. But, since the exclusion insisted upon by the British cabinet, has effectually prohibited the American shipping trom pursuing any longer a trade, which was beneficial no less to the ports it was accustomed to frequent, than to those who irequented themthe attention of the maritime interest is necessarily diverted into other channels, and markets are sought, where no system of exclusion is practised, and no penal regulations impose disabilities upon intercoursc.* Among these we may make mention, more especially, of the kingdom of Hayti, as coming within the range of our personal observations and inquiries. Exclusive of a considerable consumption of American produce in the interior of that extensive territory, the trade overland, with the Spanish division of St. Domingo, has contributed, of late, to render the capital, Cape Henry, a sort of entrepôt, to which the Spaniards resort for their supplies. In this view, if we may judge from the increased influx of ves. sels into its ports, Hayti appears to have attracted a more than ordinary share of attention, at a time, when, excepting the free ports of St. Thomas and St. Bartholomews, together with certain French, Danish, and Dutch colonies-all the customary markets are closed to that considerable proportion of the American shipping, formerly engaged in the West India trade. Before we take particular notice of the Baron de Vastey's Reflections, therefore, we shall give a slight sketch of the history and condition of that kingdom.

* We allude to the seizure of a vessel discharging at Antigua, for not be ing navigated by three-fourths of British seamen.

« AnteriorContinuar »