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the focus of the hurricanes of the southern hemisphere; in the same manner as the West Indies and the Atlantic coast of North America is the focus of the northern storms.
The most desolating hurricanes on record have certainly had their origin, and expended their fury, in these two regions; and though there appear to be no circumstances connected with the distribution of terrestrial heat, magnetism, or electricity, which would lead us to consider these localities as the probable birth-place of storms, yet we may expect to form some rational hypothesis on the subject when our knowledge of the interior condition of the earth shall be more advanced; and when we shall have studied with better materials the connection which seems to exist between the convulsions of our atmosphere, and the phenomena of earthquakes and volcanic action.
The only one of all these storms which Colonel Reid has had materials enough for projecting satisfactorily is the storm experienced in March, 1809, by the East India fleet, under the convoy of the Culloden line-of-battle ship. Four of the company's ships, and H. M. brig-of-war Harriet foundered in this storm; the details of which are peculiarly interesting and pregnant with instruction. At the Court of Inquiry which investigated these losses, most of the commanders speak of two distinct storms; but Colonel Reid's chart proves that the second storm was only the second branch of the parabolic route of the storm into which the Huddart sailed, after crossing the narrow and peaceful area which was interposed between the two branches. In this pacific spot, the William Pitt, Harriet, and Euphrates enjoyed two days of fine weather in consequence of lying to; and a similar advantage was enjoyed by the Northumberland, Indus, and Sovereign, which, by lying to, got out of the violence of the hurricane. The Sir William Bensley, on the contrary, and the St. Vincent, by running a day's sail a-head of the above seven ships, involved themselves in fresh misfortunes; and the former was hence compelled to lie to on the 17th for twentyone hours under bare poles. The Culloden and the Terpsichore frigate scudded like the Bensley, and the four missing Indiamen followed her. The Culloden stood on, and got out of the storm on the 18th, while the Terpsichore, in consequence of having lain to on the 15th for sixteen hours, was longer exposed to danger. The four missing ships were all seen on the 15th, and if they put before the wind, they must have rushed into the heart of the storm and perished.*
Colonel Reid proceeds, in his seventh chapter, to treat of the typhoons in the Chinese Sea, and the hurricanes of India, particularly the Bengal ones; and though the accounts he has been able to procure are, as he says, "neither in sufficient number, nor sufficiently connected to be satisfactory; yet, in as far as they go, they exhibit the same character as the storms of northern latitudes. During preceding hurricanes, the barometer does not seem to have fallen lower than 27.52 inches, which was its height at Port Louis at 2 P. M. on the 6th of March, during the Mauritius hurricane of 1836; it fell at Saugar on the 21st May, 1833, at 11 A. M., to a
* No electrical phenomena seem to have been noticed in any of the thirteen storms excepting that of the Boyne.
point lower than 26.50 inches, the mercury having been so low as to be invisible.*
The most deeply interesting portion of Colonel Reid's work is his eighth chapter, in which he treats of the hurricanes of 1780; two of the most tremendous visitations of physical power which have been let loose upon our globe. The first of these hurricanes took place on the 3d October. After the tempest had abated, the sea exhibited an awful scene. The waves swelled to an amazing height, rushed with indescribable impetuosity on the land, and overwhelmed the town of Savannah le Mar. When the waters began to abate, a most severe shock of an earthquake was felt. At Montego Bay prodigious flashes of lightning regularly succeeded each other, and proved a real blessing amid the midnight darkness which brooded over the general desolation. The centre of the hurricane passed over H. M. S. Badger, then commanded by the late Lord Collingwood. H. M. ships the Phoenix, Scarborough, Barbadoes, and Victor were lost.
This hurricane was succeeded on the 18th October by the great one of 1780; which Colonel Reid has been able to lay down in his ninth and last chart. It originated to the SE. of Barbadoes, and followed a parabolic course, the revolving mass of air expanding as it advanced. It did not, however, reach the American coast, in consequence of its turning north earlier than usual, the apex of its course being in about 23 deg. of N. lat. At Barbadoes the inhabitants deserted their houses, and took shelter during the night in the fields, exposed to thunder, lightning, and rain. A ship was dashed on shore against one of the buildings of the Naval Hospital; and the bodies of men and cattle were lifted from the ground, and carried many yards. The trees were uprooted, all the fruits of the earth ruined, and more than three thousand of the inhabitants destroyed. At St. Eustatia seven ships were dashed to pieces on the rocks, and their crews lost. The houses were either blown down, or washed, with their inhabitants, into the sea, and about six thousand people were destroyed. At Martinique four ships foundered in Port Royal Bay, and their crews perished. Every house in St. Kitt's was blown down, and one thousand persons destroyed. At Port Royal one thousand four hundred houses were blown down, and about one thousand six hundred sick and wounded were almost all buried in the ruins of the Hospital of Notre Dame. At Barbadoes, the condition of the governor, Mr. Cunningham and his family, was deplorable; though the walls of the government house were three feet thick, and the doors and windows had been barricaded, the wind forced its way into every part, and tore off most of the roof. The governor and his family retreated to the cellar, from which they were expelled by the entrance of the water, and the tumbling of the ruins. They then fled to the ruins of the foundation of the flag-staff, and when these gave way also the party dispersed. The governor and the few that remained were thrown down, and with difficulty reached the cannon, under the carriages of which
"The oil in the sympiesometer retired completely when the mercury in the barometer disappeared, and rose again a little before it." P. 271.
Owing to this cause, the Bermudas were included in the hurricane, though they escaped from all those projected by Mr. Redfield.
they took shelter. Many of the cannon were moved by the fury of the wind; and they dreaded every moment either that the guns over their heads would be dismounted and crush them by their fall, or that some of the flying ruins would put an end to their existence. Sir George Rodney, in his official despatch, says: "That nothing but an earthquake could have occasioned the foundations of the strongest buildings to be rent;" and he was "convinced that the violence of the wind must have prevented the inhabitants from feeling the earthquake which certainly attended the storm."
Colonel Reid concludes his work with four chapters of a miscellaneous character, and containing many valuable observations. He treats of the storms in high latitudes; on anemometers for remeasuring the wind's force; on the adaptation of buildings to resist hurricanes; on waterspouts and smaller whirlwinds; on the apparent connection of storms with electricity and magnetism; on Arctic squalls and African tornadoes; and he concludes with rules for laying ships to in hurricanes.
We have thus endeavored to convey some idea of the nature and value of Colonel Reid's work. Following in the steps of Mr. Redfield, he has done ample justice to his prior labors; and has in every respect confirmed, while he has widely extended the reasonings and views of the American philosopher. The concurrence of two such inquirers in the same general theory gives it additional claims to our support; but though we readily adopt it as the best generalization of the phenomena of storms, we are sufficiently aware of the peculiar character of the facts upon which it rests; and therefore consider the subject as still open to farther inquiry. Another theory, indeed, by an American author, renders a careful revision of it still more necessary; and if the new theory shall not succeed in supplanting its rival, it cannot fail to lead the abettors of both to a more rigorous examination of their data. According to Mr. Espy, the wind in every hurricane blows to one point in its centre; and in the case of the storm of June, 1835, which passed over New-Jersey, Professor Bache, of Philadelphia, has strengthened Mr. Espy's opinion, in so far as he finds that the objects thrown down by the wind were directed toward a centre.
But, however accurate these views and observations may be, we cannot for a moment consider them as invalidating the results deduced by Mr. Redfield and Colonel Reid in reference to the grand hurricanes which have swept over the Atlantic; and unless Mr. Espy can show that in such hurricanes the idea of a focal convergence of the wind explains the admitted phenomena, we must regard his theory as applicable only to mere atmospherical disturbances. The indications of the barometer, too, so consonant with the rotatory theory, stand in direct opposition to Mr. Espy's; and Mr. Redfield assures us that he has "not met with the statement of a single fact which is at variance with his explanations, except in two or three instances, which proved, on farther inquiry, to have been erroneously stated.*
Some insight into the physical constitution of hurricanes might perhaps be obtained from a consideration of the purposes which they seem intended to answer in the economy of nature. The sup
* American Journal of Science, vol. xxviii, p. 316.
port of animal and vegetable life is, doubtless, the main function of the element in which it is carried on; and for this purpose the air of our atmosphere is pre-eminently adapted. The very processes, however, which preside over the growth and decay of organic structures vitiate the salubrious medium; and various natural causes in the interior and on the surface of our globe concur in its deterioration.
An atmosphere thus disorganized becomes the birth-place of fever and pestilence; and, if not periodically cleared, would soon be the grave of every thing that lives and breathes. That the Parent of life, therefore, has contrived some means for remedying such an evil can scarcely be doubted by those who witness daily the beneficent system of reproduction by which the decays in their own frames are so mysteriously supplied.
The diurnal rotation of our globe under a vertical sun necessarily involves a variety of movements in the aerial envelop which surrounds it; but these movements, however rapid, would be inadequate either in their rectilineal course, or even if converged to a focus, to reunite the straggling ingredients of a vitiated atmosphere. It is only by a rotatory movement, combined with a progressive velocity, that a sufficiently tumultuous agitation can be excited and propagated through the malarious mass. In the alembic of such a tornado its isolated poisons will be redistilled; by the electric fires which it generates their deleterious sublimations will be deflagrated; and thus will the great Alchymist neutralize the azotic elements which he has let loose, and shake the medicinal draught into salubrity.
After perusing the preceding details, our readers will, we doubt not, agree with us in opinion that a real step has been made in the statistics and philosophy of storms; and we venture to predict that no sailor will study these records of atmospherical convulsions without feeling himself better armed for a professional struggle with the elements. The navigator, indeed, who may quit the shores of Europe for either Indies without Colonel Reid's book, will discover when it is too late that he has left behind him his best chronometer and his surest compass. In his attempts to escape the Scylla of its incipient gales, he may recklessly plunge himself into the Charybdis of the hurricane.
Having such impressions of the vast importance of this subject, we earnestly implore Mr. Redfield and Colonel Reid,* whose names will be for ever associated with it, to continue their invaluable la. bors, and to press upon their respective governments the necessity of some liberal arrangements for investigating more effectually the origin and laws of these disturbers of the deep. If we cannot bind them over to keep the peace, we may, at least, organize an efficient police to discover their ambush and watch their movements. If the bolts and bars of mechanism cannot secure our sea-borne dwellings from the angry spirit of the storm, we may, at least, track his course and fall into the wake of his fury. If the landsman is unable
* Since this article was written, Colonel Reid has been appointed governor and commander-in-chief of the Bermudas, a position peculiarly favorable for carrying on his valuable researches. This appointment, so honorable to Colonel Reid, is not less so to the government.
to protect himself by ordinary bulwarks of stone, let him vitrify his walls, and oppose gables of least resistance to the tempest;-and if these last auxiliaries of science shall fail, let him provide a subterranean retreat for the reception of his family. When there is safety either in peace, or in resistance,-where a change of direc. tion or an antagonist force are the remedies, human skill may go far to facilitate the one or to supply the other. It is only over the pestilence that walks by noon-day-over the enemy that haunts no locality and sounds no alarm-that knowledge has acquired no physical power, and can therefore wield no weapon of mercy.
For the Methodist Magazine and Quarterly Review.
The Complete Poetical Works of William Wordsworth, edited by HENRY REED, Professor of English Literature in the University of Pennsylvania. Phila delphia, 1837. I vol. 8vo.
A LATE writer in the Edinburgh Review makes the remark, that "even while many of our best poets are yet alive, poetry herself is dead, or entranced-the star of the engineer must be on the wane before that of the poet can culminate again." That the remark is a just one cannot be denied; perhaps a different cause may be justly assigned. The present sleep of poetic genius is but the reaction which always follows a period of high and continued excitement. For forty years has the English ear been filled with strains of the sweetest melody, and the English heart stirred with the loftiest trumpet-notes of the spirit of poesy, roused to vigorous activity by the wild energy of the human mind in that day of great enterprises and preternatural excitements-the era of the French revolution. Within forty years the English nation has known poets of the sweetest and the strongest voice; from the mild, home-like, old-fashioned effusions of "Lamb, the frolic and the gentle," to the startling and powerful offspring of Byron's misanthropic muse;— from the exquisitely polished verses of Campbell, to the anomalous and irregular, yet splendid creations of Southey;-from the ethereal softness and oriental voluptuousness of Moore, to the stern and cheerless pictures of the poet of poverty, Crabbe. We had almost forgotten, too, that within the same period, Sir Walter Scott has stood before the world as a candidate for the honors of the highest of all arts; but Marmion and the Lady of the Lake, although abundantly popular in their day, have ceased to be spoken of: they were read, but they are forgotten-for with all his powers of description and mastery of poetic diction, Sir Walter was no poet,—— he wrote nothing that could live, because he wrote nothing illustrative of human character, or that could add one tittle to our knowledge either of human nature or its destiny Shelley, too, within the same period, has bewildered himself in a maze of vain speculation, and endeavored to involve others in the same unhappiness; and too many youthful minds, fascinated by the brilliancy of his fancy and the energy of his language, have overlooked his want of good sense, and imbibed from his writings the poison of a God-less
VOL. X.-Oct., 1839.