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YEAR-BOOK OF FACTS IN SCIENCE AND ART,
MOST IMPORTANT DISCOVERIES AND IMPROVEMENTS
MECHANICS, USEFUL ARTS, NATURAL PHILOSOPHY, CHEMISTRY,
METEOROLOGY, GEOGRAPHY, ANTIQUITIES, ETC.,
NOTES ON THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE DURING THE YEAR 1869; A LIST
LMINENT SCIENTIFIC DIEN, ETC.
JOHN TROWBRIDGE, S.B.,
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF PHYSICS IN THE
INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY ;
SAMUEL KNEELAND, M.D.,
83 WASHINGTON STREET.
LONDON: TRUBNER & CO.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1870, by
GOULD AND LINCOLN, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
NOTES BY THE EDITOR,
235 East 30
PROGRESS OF SCIENCE FOR THE YEAR 1869.
The opening of the Pacific Railway and of the Suez Canal, and the completion of the laying of the French Cable, are tempting subjects to dwell upon.
It is not fitting to indulge in national boasting, at the completion of our line to the Pacific, before we learn the exact condition of the road, and the thoroughness of the work; although the rapidity of its execution, and its magnitude, might excuse any display of national egotism. The opening, however, of our great territories to the enterprise of both Atlantic and Pacific coasts, and to the cheap labor of Asia, is a result clearly to be seen.
We shall soon be called upon to chronicle other Pacific Railways; a northern, and possibly a southern one. As in the case of the French Atlantic Cable, the success of later attempts will be received as a matter of course, and the Pacific Railroad, whose completion we note to-day, will lose its prestige among the coming number of routes to the Pacific. In the present volume will be found accounts of the coal-fields of the territories. Apprehensions of lack of fuel for our great railway, by the discovery of these deposits, are seen to be ill-founded. It is felt that the Pacific Railway, with all its great realities and possibilities, is inadequate as a means of communication between our lines of coast, and attention has been redirected to the Darien Ship Canal. An appropriation has been made by Congress to pay the expenses of a new survey for this work, and an expedition has already sailed.
The completion of the Suez Canal undoubtedly had its share in directing public attention in the United States to the possibility of this enterprise. This canal has been opened with impressive ceremonies; the reports are somewhat contradictory in regard to the work.
Shallow iron steam-ships are being built on the Tyne, for the navigation of the canal. Mr. Ashbury, who sailed through the canal in his yacht, Cambria, writes that after taking careful soundings, he is of the opinion that no vessel drawing over nineteen feet of water can pass through the canal.
The “ New York Tribune” states: “ Two of the steamers of the Messageries Imperiales (French Company), of 2,400 tons - burden, have safely passed through the Suez Canal. Steamers drawing fifteen feet can navigate the canal from Port Said to Suez, with ease, in fifteen hours. The water does not wash away the banks as much as apprehended. The complete success of the great work exceeds all expectations."
The Suez Canal Company has issued regulations for the navigation of the canal. Article I. states that the navigation of the Suez Maritime Canal will be open to all ships without distinction of nationality, provided their draught of water does not exceed 75 metres, the depth of the canal being 8 metres, equal to 26 English feet.
To-day we witness a return to old routes of commerce. In early times, the track of commerce between the West and the East was by the way of Egypt and the Red Sea; from this commerce Alexandria rose to opulence, and Venice became a firstrate power. Afterwards, by the discovery of the Cape route, trade was diverted into new channels, and Venice and Alexandria sank in wealth and importance. The opening of the Suez Canal brings commerce back into its old channel.
We are called upon to chronicle the successful laying of the French Atlantic Cable.
A project to extend telegraphic communication from Cuba (already in connection with Florida) by Porto Rico, through the West India Island, is favorably entertained. Prussia, too, we hear, is beginning to think of securing more direct communication with America. It has been suggested that if a cable were laid from a point on her seaboard round by the north of Scotland, and by the western shore of Ireland, to join the Anglo-American cables at Valentia, Prussia would send all the North of Europe messages by this route.
It is understood that the Prussian Government have had the subject recently before them, and that a concession has been granted to carry out an Atlantic cable, having North Germany