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PREDICTIONS BY C. C.
Prediction First. The densities of the planets will be found to be constantly increasing. Every particle of matter, from the deposited upon a globe of a somewhat surface of a planet down to the centre, greater magnitude, but not so great presses with a constant force on the as that on which the secondary strata particle upon which it is recumbent; were formed. Thus did geologists apand this globe would still be subject proximate toward the evolution of this to the same law, whether it had a dis- important law, by proving that the tention to equal the magnitude of Ju- globe had from time to time diminishpiter, or a compression to equal the ed in magnitude since the strata which density of Mercury. If, from the encompass it began to be deposited. centre of the Earth up to the surface, It may here just be observed, that every particle pressed on the super- the sinuosity of the strata in certain incumbent particle, it is evident that situations proves that the globe must the Earth would constantly suffer a have had a greater magnitude when dilatation of diameter. Now, as it is these strata were deposited. Thus it the prevailing opinion among philoso- is evident, that those secondary strata, phers, that there is more vacuity than which have sometimes been found to matter within the circumference of any undulate from one range of primitive one of the planets,* it is no wonder hills to another, and which at the same that it should become a question much time remain continuous throughout, agitated amongst them, whether the would, if restored to their former lepressure of all the particles in an op. vel position, extend over a much posite direction would produce an op- greater horizontal surface than could posite effect? i. e. Whether the law be included between those ranges of which is now in force within the bow. hills ; those hills must have therefore els of the Earth would produce a con- been removed to a greater distance stant diminution of the Earth's dia- from each other when they admitted meter so long as vacuities existed with of the horizontality of these strata bein the interior ?
tween them, now they could only be It was a grand era in the history of removed to a greater distance from this discovery when geologists had each other by a dilatation of the Earth's
a proved that the primitive strata, if pla- diameter ; this globe must have thereced in a horizontal position, would form fore had a greater magnitude when the circumference of a much larger these strata were deposited. globe than that which they now cir. The question relative to the concumscribe ; this globe, therefore, must stant increase of the Earth's density have had a greater magnitude when by the particles gravitating towards these strata were deposited ; and that the centre, now found its way into the the secondary strata must also have records of science, and no longer was been incumbent upon a larger globe it rejected by philosophers as but the while they retained a horizontal posi- reverie of a maniac--the probable tion; but as they neither dip to so existence of such a law operating withgreat a depth as the primitive strata, in the bowels of the Earth was now nor are so highly inclined in their po- fully established, and philosophers in sition to the horizon, the globe on their future researches, after its discowhich they were deposited could not very, arbitrarily insulated the Earth have had so great a magnitude as that in space beyond the sphere of all plaon which the primitive strata were netary and solar attraction, and then formed ; and that also the last formed reasoned as to the effects that would strata, which, though they are in gene- be produced on the globe by the presral but little removed from their first sure of all the particles towards the position, must have nevertheless been surface that the diameter of the
It was a bold conjecture of Newton's, that the porosity of the Earth is such, that, were all the particles brought into contact with each other, it is possible they might be contained within the compass of a cubic inch. VOL. VI.
Earth would constantly dilate by every and the subsequent expression of some
therefore, strata, according to their se-
ginally soft, are now consolidated; which were deposited when the and why in general they are more in- density of the Earth was greater ; durated as they are the more ancient. since, then, the more we recede;
The force which consolidates the from the present period, the denEarth, must also be equal to the con- sity of the globe is always the less, solidation of the strata near the sur- strata would therefore, according to face, where it acts with so much in- their seniority, preserve their horizontensity; and since the solidity of the tal position for a shorter period ; they globe is constantly increasing, the con- would consequently be the less consosolidation of the strata must likewise lidated while
shifting from that posibe in constant operation ; those strata, tion, as they had not been so long subtherefore, which have been the longer jected to the operation of the consolisubjected to the consolidating cause dating cause, they would therefore, acmust be the more indurated, i. e. strata cording to their seniority, be more must be the more indurated according pliant while shifting from that posito their seniority. It must however tion; wherefore, bendings and inflecbe remarked, that the hardening of tions must be more frequent in strata the strata is not altogether effected by according to their seniority. the perpendicular pressure of the par- The shifting of the strata, while acticles; there is besides a constant la- commodating themselves to a globe teral pressure, arising from the circum- diminishing in magnitude, accounted ference of the globe being in a state of for earthquakes. constant decrease; and, by the co- The latent heat which exists below operation of these two forces, the fluid the surface of the Earth, and which which every stratum contains after its must from time to time be expressed deposition must be ultimately ex- as the globe gets more indurated, was pressed.
found to be the primary agent in the Fourth, Why bendings and inflec- production of a volcano, and as there tions are more frequent in strata ac- is a greater pressure at the time that cording to their seniority.
the strata are turning to a more vertiAs the force which consolidates the cal position, it accounted for the fact Earth acts nearly with the same in- of the earthquake and volcano genetensity, whatever may be its density, rally accompanying each other. it is evident that the magnitude of the It was also found, that the subglobe must diminish the faster in pro- stance of a vein was originally diffused portion as the Earth is less dense. throughout the strata which include Those strata, then, which were depo- the vein, and had been expressed from sited when the density of the Earth the strata after the formation of the was not so great, would not preserve fissure which now contains it. C. C. their level position so long as those
(To be continued.)
SOME EFFECTS OF AN EXCESSIVE APPLICATION TO THE STUDY OF PHYSICAL
SCIENCE CONSIDERED. It seems a fit subject for the curiosity The age to which we belong has purof an age to inquire into the effects sued, with activity and success unupon its character of its own peculiar known before, the investigations of pursuits; unless it may be thought, physical science; and with this spirit that, with a people, as in the case of of inquiry there has prevailed also a an individual, too much curiosity of persuasion, that the knowledge thus self-examination may both enfeeble acquired to the human mind
was of and mislead the mind. Yet to a peo- high importance, not only for the ple, as well as to an individual, there powers which it added to human art, must be a measure of self-examina- but for its direct influence on the fation that is both justifiable and salu- culties and character of the mind. Its tary; and we conceive, that the ques. influence may be beneficial, but it tioning of those opinions, upon which may easily be over-rated. We bea whole generation is disposed to act lieve, too, it is in danger to exceed with implicit confidence, and some- its just limits. thing like the ardour of passion, may The effect upon the mind, of applifall within this reasonable measure. cation to physical science, will vary
with the character of science itself. and the deep delight with which they For science may be exceedingly spe- proved their power at times to lift the culative, or it may rest almost en veil, was mingled with trepidation. tirely in a sort of practical demon. We rank these feelings with the sustration. In our own country, we ap- perstitions that are gone. But it would prehend, for the last half century, it be much to say, that they were altohas borne this last character. The gether the work of superstition. The science which has chiefly flourished feelings which superstition seizes on, amongst us, which may be said almost and magnifies, may be legitimate in displacing all others, to overspread the our nature; and we are not to con land, the science of the intimate ana- clude, because we know no such awe, lysis of natural bodies, perhaps by its we who are familiar with all speculas ready application to the arts of life, tion, we on whose childhood the lights perhaps by its own inherent tendency, of knowledge are showered before our has eminently assumed this practical understanding is even awake to recharacter. Of the more ancient state ceive them-that therefore there is no of the science, of the researches, by thing but fantasy and illusion in those such analysis, into the properties and strong and agitating impressions which powers of nature, which were pursued have accompanied heretofore the in with such avidity of hope, and such vestigation of the secrets of nature. If intense application of thought by the Maclaurin has said that he never read elder alchemists, we seem now to the questions of Sir Isaac Newton know little or nothing. Their spe- without feeling his flesh creep, if Malcific results are scarcely regarded, lebranche, when he first opened a voand their effect upon the minds of lume of Descartes, found his eyes those inquirers, and through them burst into tears and the book drop more generally upon society, seems from his hands, we may be assured still more remote from touching us. that there are strong feelings and A chemistry of our own, a new created strange emotions annexed in the conscience, has sprung up to our age, stitution of our nature, to such high eclipsing by its splendour, the dim and investigations. And if we recognize feeble lights of preceding time; and them no longer in ourselves, we may still more, by the importance and mag- be rather led to apprehend, that by nitude of its practical consequences, oc- some ill-husbanding of our own we cupying the minds, and giving occupa- have thrown away a power we were tion to the lives, not only of men edu- endowed with, than to exult in our cated to science, but of numbers with liberation from prejudice and error whom such results alone could give it which hung upon the faculties of less interest and favour. Of that che- enlightened inquirers. mistry we would venture to speak ; and I conceive, that in the original imof whatever other sciences, that lending pulse which bent the mind of men to themselves in like manner to the prac- these speculations, which urged them tical uses of life, have obtained an im- to explore the powers and the secrets of portance in the national mind, distinct nature, there was in fact much more from, if not exceeding, the pure in- of mysterious imagination, and of deep terest of scientific inquiry:
unwonted emotion, than of mere inThe spirit which originally impels tellectual gratification. And I suspect men to the investigation of nature, that the language in which Lucretius seems to arise, not merely out of their has described the state of the mind intellectual capacity and dispositions, borne in the consciousness of its power but to hold a yet deeper seat in ima- into unknown worlds, gination. Wonder and fear are the
-me quædam divina voluptas feelings with which, in the more pri- Percipit, atque HORROR mitive states of society, men approach does more truly discover to us that to such inquiries. They can perceive natural conformation of our minds a mysterious darkness shrouding the which calls us to such speculations, secrets of nature; and that ungovern- than any thing which now appears in able curiosity which to the vulgar has our own pursuit of them. seeme:) impiety, may have been felt The blending of the knowledge of Naas questionable daring, by the minds ture by the earliest ages with their mythat obeyed its impulse. The awe of thology, and somewhat later, with thetr that mystery lay upon their souls; most solemn and impassioned poetry,
and the language in which the ancient The beneficial influence of the study poets of the most cultivated times of physical knowledge, pursued in speak of the feelings and faculties that the spirit of wonder and imaginabelong to philosophy, all testify to the tion, is chiefly to be looked for in this same purpose. Nor should we have moral effect; in the high and powerful much difficulty in believing, that the place which it concurred to assign to power in men's minds, which could the faculties of intellect in the indivi: suspend the strong passions of life, dual mind in the living man.-Knowwhich in fierce and turbulent ages, in ledge itself, it is probable that it often the midst of ardent and perilous con- darkened. It could not be otherwise. tention, could turn them to lonely For, carrying upon scanty materials of thought, and to the still contempla- thought great and eager force of con tion of nature, was sprung from a ception, it must needs rear up to itself deeper source, as it held them with a at once a vast edifice of seeming know. stronger controul, than is known to ledge, which, disproportionate as it the philosophy of an age like ours. was to the realities upon which it was
These powerful feelings, whatever constructed, could only be illusion. they may have been, pass away; and When these feelings are passed away, there remains to an age like our own, if ever an era of science should arrive, as the impulse to the same pursuits- in which the value of such knowledge intellectual pleasure-the love of truth is appreciated merely by the power -and the confidence in important re- which it gives to man in his dominion sults of investigation, extending the over nature for the purposes of life dominion of man over nature.
then these results are reversed. Truth If now we should attempt to com- is discovered; for only the most exact pare the results of these two states of truth satisfies the purpose of inquiry. science, it may appear, that the ten- But the intellectual mind is lowered. dency of inquiry pursued under those It is made a servant to life. No longer strong original impulses, was not so united with imagination and sensibimuch to extend the actual dominion lity, no longer carried back into itself, of science, as to bring back to the mind from its excursion amidst material its own action resulting upon itself. knowledge, with augmented sense of The intellectual powers, filled with its own sublimity of power-it cannot energetic life by the passion that incited bring back into the man himself a moand sustained their exertion, grew to ral exaltation—but it accustoms him to their height of native strength; and deduce a value to his own powers from at the same time, being blended in the purposes in which they are emtheir strong action with sensibility and "ployed. It teaches him at last to feel, wonder, and thus let into the moral that he with his faculties is important, nature, they turned on it their own only because the objects of his knowstrength, and exalted the individual ledge are more important than him character of the man himself. Hence self. we may read in the history of early But before science can fall into such ages, examples of high moral powers degradation, if it should ever fall into produced by the love of knowledge ; à it, it passes through an intermediate proud and lofty strength, an exaltation and a better state : when intellectual and fortitude of character growing out pleasure, and the love of truth, are the of the speculative faculties, which
gave incitement to its cultivation. to the contemplative philosopher his This is the epoch, when its benefiequal place, among the stern and gi- cial influences appear the most ungantic progeny of the times. The re- questionable; when its effects seem verence of a dark age was around him; necessarily the most pure. Yet it and if he could dissipate neither their seems possible, that even these effects darkness nor his own, yet he upheld in may be over-rated, and may be carried the midst of their violent and agitated to excess. life the veneration of intellect. He felt Intellectual pleasure is a just motive it deeply in himself-he impressed it in to the pursuit of science; for we have awe upon others and transmitted in a right to the natural enjoyment of all unimpaired vigour the germ of intel- our faculties. It is salutary too, as all ·lectual life, to the ages in which its natural and grateful activity induces own sun should arise upon it, to call health and vigour.—But we over-rate it forth into beauty.
the value of intellectual pleasure, when