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pected from our situation and continental reliefs. A different disposition of the Rocky Mountains would change the character of our climate and country. These mountains and the gulf act upon each other, and appear necessary to make up our continental character.
The longest slope of the Andes, one thousand eight hundred and fifty miles, is toward the east, and is abundantly watered by the trade winds of the Atlantic. The shortest slope, only seventy miles long, is to the west, and embraces the desert of Atacama. •Deprived of the vapors of the Atlantic by the Andes, these countries (embracing the coast of the Pacific from Peruta Parina and Amatope to far beyond the tropics, from the equator to Chili,) behold the vapors of the Pacific flitting away with the trade-wind, and no accidental breeze to bring them back. Brazil and Guiana are indebted to their secondary chains for their irrigation ; while Peru and New Granada are saved from the condition of Atacama, by a depression of the Cordilleras. A similar depression acting in conjunction with the continental form, secures a sufficient irrigation to Chili
, by deflecting the trade-winds. Thus general laws are controlled by local arrangements; and large sections of territory redeemed for the use of man.
Western Europe is indebted for the uniform temperate climate, which distinguishes it from all other countries in corresponding latitudes, to its numerous seas and inland bays and lakes; its mountain-chains, and its situation on the western side of the great continent. The Alps, Pyrenees, Appennines, Carparthians and Ural chain, and the mounlains of Sweden and Norway, are so arranged that they protect the interior ; while they contribute to keep the atmosphere humid and mild, by condensing the vapor, so bountifully supplied by the Ocean, Mediterranean, Black, Baltic, Adriatic and North Seas. The water on the north, free from ice, modifies the cold winds from that direction, while its configuration opens its western coast to the elevated temperature of the Gulf-stream. Its atmospheric temperature is also elevated by the heated currents of air rushing in from the tropical regions of Africa. This combination of influences, change its astronomical climate ; and give it one, which notwithstanding its humidity, is almost unrivalled.
Sweden is a striking illustration of the influence of terrestrial reliefs. It lies between fifty-five and seventy degrees north latitude; but is protected from the northern currents by its mountain-chains; and its atmospheric temperature is greatly elevated by the waters or evaporation of the Baltic Sea and Gulf of Bothnia on the south. It is owing wholly to these facts, that they are enabled to cultivate the cereals so far to the north. It will be seen from what has been said concerning the influence of the fluid element; that it tends to lower the mean annual temperature between the tropics, and to raise it in the higher latitudes, which will be explained hereafter. The climate of the two worlds, and of each continent, is the result of all the general features of configuration and relief; and these, we discover, are adapted to the continental masses, and their astronomical climate.
The northern continents, except Asia, have a comparatively low mean elevation, although embracing immense elevated plateaux and mountainchains ; and rise as they approach the south. While the southern divisions, including Asia, have a high mean elevation. The necessity of this difference arises from their astronomical climate, and the atmospheric law of temperature, to which we have alluded. But there is no physical cause for it. It is not connected with the elliptical figure of the earth ; nor did it result from the same cause. If so, the southern hemisphere would present slopes corresponding with those of the northern. It
may be possible that these differences were caused by forces similar to those now acting on the coasts of Sweden and Finland; but if this be true, their uniformity and importance, teach us that the agent thus employed, was obedient to some intelligent power to whom the concurrent influence of the various physical laws was foreknown. By this elevation, the inhabitants of the torrid zones in certain localities, are surrounded with a variety and richness of vegetable life, to which we are strangers. Thus,” says Humboldt, “it is given to man in those regions to behold without quitting his native land, all the forms of vegetation dispersed over the globe, and all the shining worlds which stud the heavenly vault from pole to pole. But he adds most appropriately and which is a compensation for all that is lost. •In the frigid North, in the midst of the barren heath, the solitary student can appropriate mentally all that has been discovered in the most distant regions, and can create within himself a world free and imperishable as the spirit by which it is conceived. No one knows or has felt these truths more deeply than himself.
The great Mexican plateau, although under a tropical sun, is blessed with a climate equal almost to that of Western Europe for agreeableness of temperature. A single day's journey from Vera Cruz, which is situated in the Tiera Calienta, enables you to reach the regions of perpetual spring. The same arrangement is observable on the plains of Columbia in South America. The contrast,' says Arnott, . is very striking after sailing a thousand miles up the level river Magdalena in a heat scarcely equalled on the plains of India, all at once to climb to the table-land above, where Santa Fe de Bogota, the capital of the republic, is seen smiling over interminable plains that bear the livery of the fairest fields of Europe.'
Our first glance at the terrestrial surface, revealed the two great divisions of land and water, and their unequal distribution. Our next, the forms and relations of the continents; and our last, the effect of the elevations and local compensations. The necessity of each will more fully appear as we trace the phenomena with which they are connected. But the cause of these important divisions, forms, reliefs and connections, is hid from the gaze of man. The elliptical figure of the earth is explained by its rotary motion ; but not so its continental divisions and contours.
• All that we know regarding this subject,' says Von Humboldt, resolves itself into this one point, that the active cause is subterranean, that the continents did not rise at once in the form they now present, but were, as we have already observed, increased by degrees, by means of humorous oscillatory elevations and depressions of the soil, or were formed by this fusion of separate smaller continental masses.' The geological formation of the earth's crust; the wide diffusion and elevated position of fossil shells, fishes and marine plants, and the present active forces exhibited on the coasts of Sweden and Finland ; induce the belief that the process of elevation was gradual. And the existence of fossil plants and animals in northern portions of our globe, whose nature required a much warmer climate than the one in which they are found, favors the opinion that these upheavels have been sufficiently great to change the character of the continental climate. But when were these mighty changes effected ? For more than two thousand years the earth's surface and size have not materially changed. If the whole mass were growing less by the gradual escape of internal heat, and consequent shrinking of the bulk, the time occupied in making a revolution on its axis, would also change; but this is not the case. Laplace, who contributes as much to the annals of science as any one since Newton's time, and whose only rival, as remarked by Professor Playfair, was the genius of the human race, concluded from the comparisons made during the period which history has kept record of these matters, that the sideral day has not changed as much as one three hundredth of a second since the time of Hipparchus. And notwithstanding all the violent shocks of earthquakes to which Greece has been subjected, and all the changes, if any, which the internal forces have produced, the springs of Hellenic antiquity are still found at the same places. Erasinos, south of Argos, still refreshes the weary traveller; Saint Nicholas flows on beneath the temple of Apollo, as of old; the crystal waters of Costalia, still murmur in the shades of Phadriadæ ; and the hot springs of Æedipsus, in which Lulla bathed, and those of
Thermopylæ, at the foot of Èta, are used now as they were then. No change has disturbed the fountain from which they are supplied. But in other localities great changes have taken place. Rivers have been swallowed up, and mountains and volcanoes have arisen in a single night, showing the power of the uneasy element within our planet. One instance of this character, which excited much attention at the time, was the island of Sabrina, near St. Michael. It was about one mile in circumference, and rose to the height of three hundred feet above the sea, but sunk back into it again after enjoying the solar rays for a few weeks.
Doubtless many tropical plants have been carried northward by the oceanic currents ; as the Mimosa Scandens, Dolicheus Urens, etc., which are found on the coasts of Ireland and Norway.
Sir Charles Lyell, has attempted to relieve us from the difficulties these questions present, by showing the high probability of vast but gradual changes in the continental masses, by which the climates of particular regions have been wholly changed. All this may be true, yet it does not affect the grand question involved. The uniformity of the continental arrangements and the general and special adaptations of form and relief, to the various physical laws, which we have thus far pointed out, as strongly persuade the mind that these beautifully adapted and necessary dispositions of land and water, of valley and mountain, did not result from the irregular and accidental force of indeterminate powers. And when we connect them with the form of the earth, its axis and rotary motion, and its relation to and dependence on the sun, we discover a vast plan of mutually adapted elements, which, however accidental in appearance, act in perfect harmony with the innumerable and profound phenomena of nature. This, if it were the only evidence, would be sufficient to convince the reflecting that the continents took their places, forms and reliefs, obedient to the mandate of a power without and above the physical agents, wbich are employed to do the behests of the CREATOR. The earth may be molten at its centre, and the continents and terrestrial reliefs may have been thrown up by the agency of these internal fires. It is as easy for the infinite CREATOR to operate in one way as another. But every thing tends to prove the subordinate and determinate action of these agents, in preparing the world for the habitation of man.
When the first hunter pierced to Ontario's shore,
Thy voice, like God's, Niagara, thy robe
From the high lakes where waves immortal roll.
THE THREE VIEWS OF LIFE.
Tus young men shall see visions, and the old men shall dream dreams.' - BIBLE.
• A CHURCH-ORGAN and a lady's piano met accidentally one day on board of a steam-boat which was bound to New Orleans. The organ had belonged to Trinity Church, of New-York, but had been taken away and sold when the church was to be pulled down and replaced by the present edifice which adorns the head of Wall-street. The organ had never produced any sounds but the most solemn chants, and frequently performed requiems for the dead, who were occasionally brought into the church for interment. Indeed, it had never heard any tune less solemn than an anthem, except when the city militia, with drums and fifes, passed the church toward the battery; on which occasions the organ always felt so much horror at the profane disturbance, that the church-doors and windows were closed to exclude the unwelcome sounds. Even chains were in ancient days drawn across Broadway, in front of the church, to more effectually prevent the intolerable annoyance by denying a passage to the boisterous intruders. The piano, on the contrary, was almost constantly uttering songs and shouting waltzes and quadrilles. It could play without a book. The Dutchman's Cork Leg' The Merry Schoolmaster,' • Three Blind Mice,' and kindred drolleries innumerable.