Imágenes de páginas

within them for they generally blow little in the torrid and frigid zones; but frequently in the temperate.

So, likewise, all the free winds, especially the strongest of them, blow oftener, and more violently; in the morning and evening, than at noon and night.

The free winds are observed to blow more frequent in such countries as lie hollow and cavernous, than in such as are more firm and solid*.


Men have taken very little pains to observe these serving winds in particular countries; but if the thing were done, it would be useful in many respects. Upon asking a certain intelligent merchant, who was master of a colony in Newfoundland, and had wintered there himself, the reason why that country was reputed so extremely cold, beyond what the climate promised? he replied, the fact was not altogether so true as reported; but that the causes were two: the one, that the huge masses of ice brought down by the currents from the frozen sea, passed along the shores; the other, which he judged

*See hereafter, Sect. vii.

abundantly the more considerable, was, that the west wind there, blows for a much greater part of the year, than the east; as it does also, says he, in England; but at the fishery it blows cold from the continent; whereas, in England, it blows warm from the sea: but continues he, if the east wind blew so often, and so long in England as the west wind does at the fishery; the cold in England would be much more intense, and equal, perhaps, to what it is there*.

The west wind is the attendant of the afternoon; as generally blowing whilst the sun descends from the meridian: but this the east wind does much seldomer.

The south wind waits upon the night; as often rising and blowing strongly at that time: but the north wind tends more upon the day.

There are many and great differences between the serving winds of the sea, and those of the continent; especially in the particular which is said to have given Columbus the hint for discovering the West-Indies; viz. that the sea-winds are not stated, as the land-winds generally are. For as the sea abounds with vapours, which are in a manner present indifferently, and blow every way, with great inconstancy; as having


See Mr. Boyle's History of Cold, passim.


no certain origins or fountains*: whilst the earth is very unequally provided of the matter of winds; some parts of its surface being well fitted for producing and increasing them; but others not; whence they here commonly blow from the place of their origin; and thence obtain their direction.

Acosta seems to differ from himself, when he says, in one place, that the south winds blow during almost the whole year in Peru, and along the coasts of the south-sea; but in another place, that the sea-winds principally blow along those shores: for the south wind there, is a land wind; so likewise are the north and the east; whilst only the west is a sea-wind in those parts. He seems exactest in the first case; viz. that the south is a waiting wind, and there familiar; unless perhaps from the name of the southsea, he either conceived wrong, or expressed himself improperly, and by south meant the west-wind; because this blows from the south


But the sea called the south-sea, is not properly a south-sea; but, as it were, a second western ocean, stretching in a like direction with the atlantic.

Sea-winds are doubtless moister than landwinds, yet purer; and such as easier and more

* See hereafter, sect. vii.

equably mix with a pure air: for land-winds are ill compounded and smoaky. Nor let it be objected, that sea-winds are grosser, because of the saltness of the sea; for the terrestrial nature of the salt does not suffer it to rise in vapour.

Sea-winds are warm or cold, according as they participate of the two qualities just now mentioned; viz. humidity and purity. By their humidity they mitigate the force of cold; (for dryness increases both cold and heat :) and again, they cool by their purity; whence without the tropics they are warm, but within them cold.

We judge that the sea winds are every where the serving winds of particular countries; especially on the coasts: as winds oftenest blow from the sea, by reason of the much greater stock of matter thence supplied to them than by the land; unless any stated wind should through some particular cause, chance to blow from the land. And let not stated winds be confounded with waiting winds; for waiting winds ever blow oftenest; but stated winds generally seldom; though this they both have in common with other winds, that they blow from the place where they are generated.

Sea winds are generally stronger than land winds; yet, when cease, the calm is greater out at sea than near the shore: insomuch that sailors sometimes chuse to keep within the winds of

the coast, rather than venture out; to avoid being becalmed.

Recurrent winds blow from the sea to the shore; that is, such winds as after having gone forwards for a while, turn back suddenly. And this seems owing to a certain refraction, and inequality, between the breezes of the sea, and those of the land; for all inequality of the air is the beginning of a wind. But these recurrent and variable winds chiefly happen in the bays of the sea.

There are breezes generally found about all great waters: especially in the morning: but more about rivers than at sea, by reason of the difference betwixt the breezes of the land, and those of the water.

Trees growing near the sea-shore are generally observed to bend away from the sea-breezes; as if they had some antipathy thereto : but this seems owing to the humidity and density of such breezes; which render them more ponderous and powerful.

« AnteriorContinuar »