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ful history, the submersion of the continents, America terminate in the rugged heights of and the subsequent withdrawal of the waters. Cape Horn, Africa in the Cape of Good The geological appearances of Europe and Hope, Asia in Cape Comorin, the extremity North America render it probable that those of the chain of the Ghauts, and Australia regions were at a late period swept by pow- in Cape Southeast, of Van Diemeu's Land. erful currents of water, which rounded off This tendency of the continents to group the forms of the mountains, scooped out the together in the north, and to become attenvalleys into gentler shapes, filled up with the uated and narrow towards the south, is carried transported débris the fissures and breaks in out in all the separate and minor forms in the superficial strata, in a manner which no which they present themselves. For instance, atmospheric influence could possibly have Greenland, California, Florida, in America; effected, and smoothed and softened the Scandinavia, Spain, Italy, and Greece, in whole in its final preparation as the abode Europe; the two Indies, Corea, Kamtschatka, of the human race.
in Asia, all point to the south. The next Let us now look at the surface of the series of resemblances is found by grouping earth, perfected and fitted for a new day, and the continents in three double worlds : the seek for the connection which we cannot two Americas, Europe-Africa, and Asiadoubt must exist between its physical condi- Australia. Each pair we find to be united tions and the past history of man. And together by an isthmus or chain of islands. thereby we may obtain a clue to his terres- On one side of the isthmus is an archipelago, trial destinies. For if we can see an evident on the other a peninsula. Thus, in America, fitting of the powers of nature to the pur- on one side of the connecting isthmus is the poses of individual existence, we may rest archipelago of the Antilles, on the other is assured that there is an equal parallelism the peninsula of California. In Europe between the great features of nature and the Africa, (considering Italy and Sicily as the past and future fortunes of the race. true isthmus, since they almost touch by
The outline of a continent, depending as Cape Bon the Barbary shore, and the sea it does on the height of the surrounding between being shallow and full of ledges of seas, and liable to assume a most complete rock,) we have on the east the Grecian archichange of appearance with the elevation or pelago, and the peninsula, Spain, on the depression of those seas, even with the slight west. In Asia-Australia, there is the continvariation of a few hundred feet, would seem uous chain of islands, stretching from the a matter altogether accidental and devoid of peninsula of Malacca, by Sumatra and Java, significance. But as there is nothing acci- up to New-Holland, presenting thus the
apdental in nature, but every thing the result pearance of an isthmus in embryo; and on of physical laws fixed in fate, by observing one side is the archipelago of Borneo, Celeclosely these sinuosities of shape, together bes, and of the Moluccas, and on the other with their associated natural phenomena, the peninsula of India. Another fact worth we may be enabled to detect, in the apparent noticing, with regard to the disposition of confusion, a system and design world-wide land and sea, is that the surface of the globe as the materials out of which it is wrought. is found to be divided into two hemispheres, And first we will refer to the work with the one containing all the principal terrestrial which we have headed this paper, for some masses, the other, only vast oceans; forming, of the coincidences and contrasts, the resem- in this way, a continental hemisphere and blances and irregularities in the vertical and an oceanic hemisphere. horizontal forms of the different bodies of Again, instead of the great masses of dry dry land which compose the habitable earth. land rising at irregular and hap-hazard ele
A glance at the map of the globe will show vations above the surface of the oceans, and us the continents surrounding the northern interspersed with depressions below that pole, and springing out from it like an surface, as can be witnessed in the isolated opened fan, jutting into the great southern cases of the Caspian and Dead Seas, the ocean in pyramidal forms. The points of valley of the Jordan and the beds of a few these pyramids are invariably the extremities of the Italian lakes, we observe a gradual of mountain belts, which proceed from the and steady rise in each of the continents tointerior and break off abruptly, forming bold wards a range of highlands constituting its and precipitous promontories. Thus we see I crest. These apices are never in the cen
tre, but always on one of the sides, pre-sented the most attractive field for the labors senting thus two slopes of unequal length of the geologist, and have in fact, until of late and inclination. Of these, the long slopes years, almost engrossed the attention of tend invariably towards the Atlantic or the scientific men, it is nevertheless not there Frozen Ocean, which is only a portion of it; that we must look for the solution of the while the short slopes descend to the Pa- momentous questions to which their labors cific, or its continuation, the Indian Ocean. have been but the prelude. It is in the low, Incidentally, we can find from these facts level stretches of land, or plains, and in the a clue to the manner in which the conti- | high and level table-lands, or plateaus, that nents emerged from the bed of the ocean. men build their homes, and make the scene Lifted up by the internal volcanic forces, the of their labors and hopes, of their trials and crust of the earth would seem to have been rewards. The first to point out the imporraised either way, from a line following the tance in physical geography of these divisions centre of the Atlantic, by successive diverg- of the earth's surface, was Humboldt ; and ing upheavals, until it attained the height later geographers have followed closely in of its loftiest mountain barricades. That this the track that his great intelligence opened was effected by a series of convulsions, and for them, whilst their moral bearings upon not by a single one, is proved by the com- human fortunes have hardly yet had bestowparative geological appearances. The Gram- ed upon them a due share of attention. pians of Great Britain, and the Scandinavian mountains, are far more ancient than
“ The Old World is that of table-lands and the Alps, Carpathians, and Himalaya; while, elevated, so numerous
, so extensive, as Asia and
mountains. No continent exhibits plateaus so in America, the Rocky Mountains and the Africa. "Instead of one or two chains of mounAndes are of much later origin than the more trins, like the Andes, Central Asia is traversed moderate ranges along the Atlantic coast; by four immense chains, supporting vast tablethe general elevation of the uplands and lands of from five thousand to fourteen thousand plains corresponding also very closely with of the globe. The extent of this elevated
feet in elevation, and the loftiest mountains that of the mountains. The same tilting mo- region is more than two thousand four hundred tion, we may observe, which raised the outer miles in length, by one thousand five hundred or Pacific margins, would be likely to cause a miles in breadth. The principal mass of Western proportionate depression on the inner line of Asia is nothing but a plateau, from three to six
thousand feet in hieight. Africa, south of Sabara, junction; and to this cause may be owing seems to be only an enormous pile of uplifted the existence of the Atlantic Ocean, which loads. It has been calculated that the mounhas more the character of an inland sea than tains and plateaus of Asia cover five sevenths of the Pacific, resembling in its form a trough its surface, while the plains occupy only twe between the opposite continents. Strength-thirds of the continent, the plains only one third.
sevenths. In Africa, the high regions form two ening the above view is the fact that the But although the Old World may be called the greater part of the volcanoes of the globe are world of plateaus, it is not because great plains strung along the shores of the Pacific, while are wanting there. The whole north of Europe the Atlantic is comparatively free in this and Asia is nearly a boundless plain. In Africa, respect; pointing thus to the latest theatre five hundred miles in length, by one thousand
also, the plains of Sahara extend two thousand of elemental strife. In addition to this main in breadth. But the situation of these plains of system of slopes, there is a system of coun- the Old World, under the frozen sky of the north, ter-slopes, commencing in both the eastern and under the fires of the tropics, together with and western hemispheres at the poles, and the nature of their soil, takes from them all their
The one is a frozen waste, a Siberia; reaching their greatest altitudes at the trop- the other a burning desert; and neither the ove nor ics.
the other is called to play an essential part, nor do These are a few of the points of resem- they impress upon their iespective continents their blance or intimate connection between the essential character. The New World, on the other two great divisions of the globe. There are of its surface; the plateaus and the mountains,
hand, is the world of plains. They form two thirds others of contrast, however, equally strik- only one third. The high lands form only a narrow ing, and not to be forgotten in a view of the band, crowded upon the western coasts of the two influence exerted by the forms of the conti- continents. Almost the whole east runs into imnents upon the physical destinies of man
mense plains, covering it, one might say, from pole
to pole. From the Frozen Ocean to the Gulf of kind.
Mexico, over au extent of nearly two thou-and four Whilst the mountain systems have pre-hundred miles, we cross only insignificant heights.
From the 'llanos of the Orinoco to the banks of La treme variations are due not alone to the Plata, we traverse more than three thousand miles mere contour of the confines of ocean and of low plains, slightly interrupted by the somewhat more elevated regions of western Brazil;
dry land, but to the extent of the continents they are prolonged even to the Pampas of Pata and the varying altitudes and depressions gonia, six huudred miles further south, to the south of their surfaces. And whether the ocean ern extremity of America. The length of the breezes are met by inhospitable mountain rich plains watered by the Maranon, in the direc barricades, robbing them of their humid tion of the current, is nearly one thousand six hundred miles.
Finally, if we were treasures, and sending them inland dry seeking for a continent where the form of moun- and sterile, or whether they pass for thoutains, without plateaus at their base, should be sands of leagues over low-lying plains, are the characteristie feature, it would be necessary to matters involving not only climate, but civiliname Europe, comprehending in it only Western Europe, without Russia; that is, historical Europe,
zation and barbarism, and place and precethe true Europe, after all. Traverse Europe from dence of the continents in the preparation of one end to the other, whether over its central mass the earth for the universal home of the huor its peninsulas, you will find every where its soil man family. But before we consider these moditied, cut in all directions by chains of mountains intersecting each other. In all this part of great physical features, so important in their the Continent, the largest existing plain, that of moral results, we must call to mind the variuorthern Germany and Poland, is only six hundred ous atmospheric phenomena by which land miles long by two hundred broad. It is the ex- and sea are enabled to act and react on each tremity of the great asiatie plains in the north other. And first the general theory of the The other plaias, as those of France, of Hungary, winds. of Lombardy, are smaller in extent, and do not deprive this part of the Continent of the mour
Among the causes of atmospheric disturb tainous character essentially belonging to it." ance, the chief is the unequal rarefaction by
the sun's rays of the different levels and secIn connection with these varying shapes tions of the atmosphere, the more heated of the earth's surface, and essentially modi layers of air rising, in consequence of their fied by them, is the question of climate. lessened density, and the adjacent colder and The great zones of the astronom al climate heavier volumes rushing into the comparaare due, it is true, to the spherical form of tive vacuum thus formed. What is true our globe, causing the unequal distribution of incidentally and on a small scale, it is clear the sun's rays. But these are modified to such must also be the case in the regular and a degree by the great divisions of land and grander operations of nature, and more espesca, that in the same latitudes we will find cially with respect to the two great reservoirs at one point the freshness and verdure of a of heat and cold, the poles and the trojics. perpetual spring, and at another, winters From these causes we would conclude an almost arctie in their severity, followed by uninterrupted march or progression of the summers where the sun beats down with wiods, from the arctic and antarctic regions, equatorial fervor. For instance, at the Faroe in the direction of the equator. This hypoIslands, situated in the midst of the Atlantic, thesis observation has rendered certain, modthe thermometer falls, during the coldest ifying it, however, by antagonistic phenommonth of the year, ts 36.89 Fahr., while in ena sufficiently numerous to leave this elethe hottest month it only rises to 55°. In the ment its character as the type of all change same latitude, in the wilds of Siberia, stands and uncertainty. As the waves of air roll the city of Yakutsk. Here the thermometer from the poles to the tropics, they are afranges from 40.9° below zero, during the fected by the rotary motion of the earth. coldest month, to 68.5° of Fahr., during the The speed of the earth's rotation on its axis summer heats, making an annual variation is of course almost nothing at the poles, and of 109.4° On the southern shores of Great obtains its maximum at the equator.
The Britain, delicate shrubs suffer no injury polar winds, as they sweep towards the from the mild winters, while the summer equator, do not acquire this increased velosun has not power to bring to its full ripe. city at once, but, as the earth rolls from west ness the grape. On the northern shore of to east, lag behind, presenting thus the apthe Caspian, wines are grown of equal | pearance of a current of air from east to west richness with those of Spain, while in the This tendency to the west increases, the same latitude at the mouth of the Loire, nearer the approach to the tropics, and at the vine can hardly be raised. These ex- I last assumes a due westerly direction, and
becomes what navigators term the trade- | Where it gains warmth and moisture from winds. These winds are found on either the open sea, and is subsequently checked side of the equator, and are separated by a by the forests and mountain ranges of the zone of calms, where the ascending current main land, as in eastern India, China, and seems to neutralize the horizontal. In this the Atlantic coast of America, it deposits its region the breezes are variable and shifting, temperate rains on their slopes and recesses. and calms alternate with the most terrific Where it sweeps over extensive tracts of detornadoes. But on the north and on the pressed and parched-up plains, such as the south, the trades pursue their stately and deserts of Arabia, their dry heat melts away gentle march, gathering the vapors from its small modicum of moisture, and we bethe surface of the ocean, to enrich the far-of hold the singular phenomenon of a country continents. For as the tropical sun forces the doomed to perpetual sterility by the joint heated strata upwards, they become cooled action of a tropical sun and polar winds. in those frigid heights, and are drawn into A more striking instance of this may be the upper return current to either pole, to found in the humid breezes that are wafted run again on the endless round of nature. over the Mediterranean into the depths of The temperature of hese upper currents Sahara. The burning breath of the desert steadily decreases, and their greater density dries up the humid airs, the mists are disforces them slowly but surely to the earth, solved into invisible vapor, the clouds disapwhich they reach at about 30° north latitude. pear, and south ward rolls the northern blast, Their superabundant humidity is condensed, until, condensed on the mountain slopes and and their course is marked by copious show- snowy peaks of central Africa, clouds, and ers, the warm and genial rain of southern rain, and mist, once more appear. Here they winds, which brings to the lap of the earth swell those mysterious floods whose fountains, germination and increase. The existence of long sought for, must thus, in the vast econthese upper return currents is well estab- moy of God, be found in the waters of Europe lished, as is also the fact that they are af- and Asia, and even in the ice of arctic seas. fected by the rotary motion of the earth On the south of the equator, from the great equally with the surface currents, but in a preponderance of ocean over dry land, the reversed order. For, starting with the full trades blow with greater regularity than in velocity of the earth’s rotation at the equa- the northern hemisphere. But even here, tor, they do not immediately lose it as they the Indian Ocean, from its land-locked charproceed on their northward travel, but find acter, breaks in upon the course of this great themselves at every step a little in advance aerial system, and establishes one of its own. of their original longitude, forming thus, be- On the north of this huge mediterranean tween the two propelling forces, a current sea we find India, with its towering mounfrom the south-west, as the corresponding tain ranges, and the elevated regions of surface current runs from the north-east. middle Asia. On the south are the tableThis on our side of the equator. In the lands of southern Africa. These lie in
OPPOsouthern hemisphere, the upper current site hemispheres; and while it is summer in tends from the north-west, and the lower India, the plateaus of Africa are covered from the south-east. Accordingly, in the with snow; and when winter passes over to middle latitudes of the northern hemisphere, the Himalayas, the African uplands glow and where the upper and lower currents come quiver with furnace-heat. Thus, alternately, into contact, we have but two normal winds, for six months of the year, there is a strong the north-east and the south-west wind. wind setting in from either quarter, formBoth bring clouds and rain, but the south- ing the north-east and south-west monsoons. west alone bears with it the prolific warmth To the east and south is New-Holland, with of its native climate. The north-east, cold, its minor monsoons, while the great Ausand from its density comparatively dry, tralian archipelago, feeling the influence of especially if its course is overland, meets these double systems, and at the same time the vapors rising from lakes and rivers and of the great Pacific trade-wind, to which it is morasses, and condenses them into chilling the barrier, is constantly the scene of the rain-storms. Where it crosses lofty plateaus, most terrific tempests. such as the steppes of northern Siberia, it Equally with the atmosphere, are the adds a deeper gloom to their desolation. I oceanic waters affected by the shape of the earth, and the unequal distribution of the man sinks overpowered beneath its magnifisun's heat. Driven from the poles by the cence. But in these contrasts lies the fitness eternal laws of matter, they hurry on to the of these two great continents to produce tropics, washing their burning shores, to their mutual ends. The superabundant return in their great round of compensation natural wealth of the new world, too vast with borrowed warmth to mitigate the rigor for the unassisted energies of infant humaniof arctic winters. But the continents, which ty, is reserved as the field of the labors of present obstacles only partially insurmount- its manhood; while in Asia, where stinted able by the winds, break up the marine nature cradles the young Hercules, we may movements into a more complex system; clearly see the design by which her powers and instead of the general form of upper and are merely chained and not entirely delower strata, we have numberless lateral cur- stroyed. From the valley of the Atlantic, the rents, whirling furiously around the conti- land of Europe and America rises by a suenental promontories, foaming along the coasts cession of long and gentle slopes to the that hem them in, seeking as eagerly for out- Rocky Mountains in America, and to the Himlets to the west as did Columbus for the great alayas in Asia. Had the Atlantic shores been western world, and finally taking the course fringed by high mountain ranges, the whole which their original impulse, the outlines of expanse of either continent would have been the masses of dry land, and the varying a howling wilderness, leafless, a grave to all depth and form of the bottom of the ocean, organized life. An instance of his may be unite in giving them. In the gulf-stream seen in the eastern coasts of North and we behold an ocean current corresponding South America, where the Andes and Rocky to the upper return trade-wind of the north- Mountains arrest and condense the moisture ern hemisphere; in the uniform movement of the sea-winds, pour it down in prolific to the west of the equatorial seas, we have floods on the short eastern slope, while the the counterpart of the trade-winds of com- winds, thus rendered parched and thirsty, merce; and in the fact of the annual pro- sweep down on the western slopes, leaving gress to the south of numbers of icebergs, waste and ruin in their track, and forming moved directly against the set of the gult- the deserts which may be found from Cape stream by the submarine current which en- Horn to the Frozen Ocean. Not so in the velopes their base, we have a beautiful proof old world. The Pacific winds are, it is true, of the general correctness of this theory. prevented from penetrating far inland by the
Let us now observe the manner and ex- mountains of Eastern Asia; but to the Attent to which the earth is affected by the lantic winds no such obstacles are presented. influences of sea and sky, and in what The south-west, or upper return trade-wind degree these combine to impel the growth, of the northern hemisphere, losing its caloric not of the individual, but of the tribes of in the upper regions of the atmosphere, men whom history finds planted on its sur-strikes the earth again at about 30° north face. As we have seen, the two Americas, | latitude. Beating along the Atlantic coasts from their long and narrow form, and the of Europe, it drenches these shores with the comparative nearness of their opposite coasts, first-fruits of its rains. But the easterly are permeable in every direction by the ocean tendency, gained from the rotation speed of vapors, and possess what may
be called a the earth at the equator, increases with every maritime climate. The old world, on the step northward, and finally these winds, rich other hand, heaped up in a compact mass with the distillation from nature's laboratory, between the pole and the equator, present- sail landward, over central and northern ing a region of such immense extent as to Europe, over the grassy jilains of Asia, until drain the winds of the eastern and western checked in Siberian deserts by the polar oceans of every vestige of their humidity, currents. Thus there are but two normal affords an instance of a climate essentially winds in the temperate regions of each continental. In the latter, dry, free, and hemisphere, constituting in their alternations open, animal life finds the best materials of the variations of weather, of cold or warm its growth and early development, while rains, of soft or chilling winds, characteristic vegetation is dwindling and imperfect. In of those latitudes. But under the pluviose the new world, on the contrary, the vegeta- skies of western Europe, vegetation almost ble kingdom is triumphant, and aboriginal i equalled American luxuriance; and we ac