« PreviousContinue »
first to entertain the idea that great storms were, in fact, great whirlwinds, or cyclones (as they are called), a term which is scarcely an improvement, for every one knows what a whirlwind is ; and as the chief end and aim of language is to express what is meant, nothing more was required. ini
The lecturer then described the progress of several hurricanes, and clearly proved that however great their rotary velocity might be, their progress in a right line never exceeded that of the ordinary atmospheric currentsfrom ten to twenty-five miles an hour. He then said-to describe one tropical hurricane is to describe them all ; and though some rage with greater intensity than others, the same general phenomena commonly present themselves: Thụs a cloudless sky and resplendent sun are often obscured in a moment with dismal blackness. At other times the storm-cloud is seen gathering in the distance, ere it discharges its fury on the devoted district it is about to desolate. Towards the zenith there is sometimes an obscure circle of imperfect light, when all around is total black
Distant flashes of lightning, and squalls of wind and rain, with alternate calm, give unerring notice of the coming storm; the thermometer, in the meantime, fluctuating with incessant activity : and as the hurricane begins its fitful course, some houses are levelled with the ground, when the inhabitants of others scarcely a mile distant are dwelling in perfect serenity. At length the storm bursts forth in all its fury'; lightning flashes follow each other in ràpid succession ; the gale increases--the wind shifts the flashing lightning becomes incessant, and illuminates the whole heavens ; while darts of electric fire explode around, and exceed in brilliancy, the quivering blaze of light above. Streams of electric fire issue from the ground, and mingle with the vivid flashes from above. Then the astounding roar of the hurricane is at its height, and is heard as it rushes over the earth, a destroyer of man's property, but probably at the same time the renovator of the atmosphere which sustains his life :
“A partial fill, but universal good.” The great quantity of electric matter in operation during tropical hurricanes is remarkable. Trees are killed by its action, without being blown, down; and other vegetable productions are scorched as though fire had passed over the land. When considering all the phenomena of storms, and the very large amount of electricity in action during their progress, that imponderable reality must be considered as the principal agent which gives rise to hurricanes, as well as to waterspouts in general.
In speaking of the enormous pressure of the wind during violent magnetic storms, the lecturer instanced one at Bombay, in which the pressure increased in a few hours from 10lb. to 35lb. to the square foot. Accounts from the scene of devastation stated that in the morning the gardens appeared as if a heavy roller had passed over them; and the various directions in which the tall palm trees had fallen, afforded palpable indications of the revolving character of the storm.
Terrestrial and atmosp! eric electrical currents acting on the wires of the electric telegraph, were then briefly explained. Soon after the completion of the first working fines, disturbances of the needles were noticed. They were at once seen to be due tớ causes exterior to the apparatus itself. During the presence of the Aurora Borealis, the wires are always affected, ---proving beyond doubt the electric nature of that phenomenon. In some instances, the needles of the instruments are so firmly blocked and held in one position, that the battery power in the office is quite nugatory, so that the instruments cannot be worked. This state of things may continue for hours together, so that great delay and irregularity occur in transmitting messages. When this is the case, the general public--who only look to results, without craving to inquire how those results are obtained--at once condemn the company and officials for delays which they cannot prevent.
After giving particulars of several destructive hurricanes, and pointing out by means of charts and diagrams the courses taken by them, and the manner in which they expand whilst they progress,---the lecturer described and explained the phenomena of waterspouts, one of which was seen at New Galloway, on the 17th of July, 1850. After moving in a southern direction for a mile or two, it changed its course to the east, and burst over the river Ken, near the lake. The foam in the river rose to a height of sixty feet, boiling and hissing like a cauldron, and resembling dense volumes of smoke. On the 10th of September of the present year (1862), as the steamer Juno, from Tenby, was passing through Cardigan Bay, a waterspout was seen at no great distance from the vessels. The pillars of sand, seen by travellers in the deserts of Nubia, were then explained to result from the action of the wind.
T. L. HARRIS.
TO WRITE a poem, man should be as pure
As frost-flowers; every thought should be in tune
Into their lives all Nature's wealth, and all
That God is throned in universal man, 1. The greater mind of pure intelligence.
Unlimited by states, moods, periods, creeds,
-The Golden Age.
NO CROSS, NO CROWN.
T. L. HARRIS.
ONCE Caré drew nigh to be my guest,
Bowed with a' weary burden down;
And only said—“No cross, no crown !"
That never yet was known to frown;
He whispered too_"No cross, no crown!"
Robed in a holy palmer's gown,
He also said —"No cross, no crown!"
And while adoring I sank down,
And cried aloud-"No cross, no crown!"
THE HOMES OF ENGLAND.
How beautiful they stand,
O’er all the pleasant •land !
Through shade and sunny gleam ;
Of some rejoicing stream.
Around their hearths by night,
Meet in the ruddy light!
Or childhood's tale is told,
Some glorious page of old. The blessed Homes of England !
How softly on their bowers Is laid the holy quietness.
That breathes from Sabbath hours ! Solemn, yet sweet, the church bell's chime
Floats through their woods at morn; All other sounds, in that still time,
Of breeze and leaf are born.
The cottage Homes of England,
By thousands on her plains,
And round the hamlet fanes.
Each from its nook of leaves;
As the bird beneath their eaves.
Long, long in hut and hall,
To guard each hallowed wall !