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Page 20 - In the solitude of the seas, we hail a star as a friend, from whom we have been long separated. Among the Portuguese and the Spaniards, peculiar motives seem to increase this feeling ; a religious sentiment attaches them to a constellation, the form of which recalls the sign of the faith, planted by their ancestors in the deserts of the new world.
Page 58 - ... Canary Islands, to reach the coast of Caraccas ; ten months to make the tour of the Gulf of Mexico and reach Tortoise Shoals, opposite the port of the Havannah ; while forty or fifty days might be sufficient to carry it from the straits of Florida to the bank of Newfoundland. It would be difficult to fix the rapidity of the retrograde current from this bank to the coasts of Africa : estimating the mean velocity of the waters at seven or eight miles in twenty-four hours, we find ten or eleven...
Page 57 - ... flowing from the equator * to the poles, and from the poles to the equator, form warm or cold streams 'f' amid the motionless waters of the * TV Gulf-slrer.m.
Page xxxviii - I had left Europe with the firm intention of not writing what is usually called the historical narrative of a journey, but to publish the fruit of my inquiries in works merely descriptive; and I had arranged the facts, not in the order in which they successively presented themselves, but according to the relation they bore to each other.
Page 223 - Quito underwent such a destructive commotion, that, notwithstanding the extreme feebleness of the population of that country, near 40,000 natives perished,, buried under the ruins of their houses, swallowed up in the crevices, or drowned in lakes that were suddenly formed. At the same period, the inhabitants of the eastern Antilles were alarmed by shocks, which continued during eight months, when the volcano of Guadaloupe threw out pumice stones, ashes, and gusts of sulphureous vapours.
Page 3 - ... the poles. It is known, that in the passage from Santa Cruz to Cumana, as in that from Acapulco to the Philippine Islands, seamen are scarcely ever under the necessity of working their sails. We pass those latitudes as if we were descending a river, and we might deem it no hazardous undertaking if we made the voyage in an open boat.
Page 289 - Let us announce to them that God " hath made of one blood all nations of men that dwell on the face of the earth.
Page 18 - We saw distinctly, for the first time, the cross of the south, only in the night of the 4th and 5th of July, in the sixteenth degree of latitude. It was strongly inclined, and appeared, from time to time, between the clouds, the centre of which, furrowed by uncondensed lightnings, reflected a silver light. The pleasure felt on discovering the southern cross was warmly shared by such of the crew as had lived in the colonies.
Page 20 - ... minutes a day; and no other group of stars exhibits, to the naked eye, an observation of time so easily made. How often have we heard our guides exclaim, in the savannahs of the Venezuela, or in the desert extending from Lima to Truxillo, ' Midnight is past, the Cross begins to bend...
Page iii - I had in view a two-fold purpose in the travels of which I now publish the historical narrative. I wished to make known the countries I had visited ; and to collect such facts as are fitted to elucidate a science of which we as yet possess scarcely the outline, and which has been vaguely denominated Natural History of the World, Theory of the Earth, or Physical Geography.