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as in the former case, that the fog was not attributable to a comet.
The following are the remarks of our author upon the agency which this extraordinary fog is supposed by some persons to have had in the uncommon pestilence which made its appearance in Europe, about the same time.
“ Many authors have chosen to see some connexion between the extraordinary fog of 1831 and the entrance of the cholera morbus into Europe. This opinion reminds me of what an old English traveller, Matthew Dobson, says of the effects of a periodical wind on the west coast of the continent of Africa, which is called the Harmattan. On reading over the original narrative just as I was about to send these pages to the press, I was so struck with several points of resemblance between the properties of the air, where this wind prevails, and that which is filled by the dry fogs of Europe, that I determined to give here a short analysis of that memoir. The reader will observe, that out at sea, some distance from the shore, the Harmattan loses its peculiar qualities; and he will remember, that in 1783 the dry fog was not perceived in the middle of the Atlantic, although it darkened at the same time the atmosphere of Europe and America. He will see also, that all fogs of this description are not fatal.
“A wind that blows three times each season from the interior of Africa to the Atlantic Ocean, is call the Harmattan. On that part of the coast which lies between Cape Verd (Lat. 15° N.) and Cape Lopez (Lat. 1° S.), the Harmattan is chiefly felt in December, January, and February. Its direction is between E. S. E. and N. N. E. It commonly lasts two days, sometimes five or six. It is always a moderate wind.
“ A fog of a particular kind, and thick enough to impede at noon all but the red rays of the sun, always presents itself where the Harmattan blows. The particles, of which this fog is formed, are deposited on the grass, on the leaves of trees, and on the skin of the negroes, in such profusion as to produce a white appearance. Of the nature of these particles we are ignorant; we only know that the wind carries them but a short distance from the shore. A league out at sea the fog is much lighter; and, at the distance of three leagues, it disappears entirely, although the Harmattan is still felt in all its force.
“The extreme dryness of the Harmattan is one of its most striking characteristics. When it lasts some time, the branches of orange and citron trees die; the covers of books (even when they are shut up in tight trunks, and have additional covering of linen,) warp as if they had been before a large fire. Pannels of doors, window-shutters, and articles of furniture crack and often break. The effects of this wind upon the human body are not less remarkable; the eyes, lips, and palate become dry and painful. If the Harmattan last four or five days together, the skin of the hands and face comes off; to prevent this, the natives rub their bodies all over with grease.
“ After what has been said of the fatal effects of the Harmattan on vegetables, it may be thought that this wind must be very unhealthy, whereas quite the contrary is observed Intermittent fevers are completely cured by the first breath of the Harmattan. Patients reduced by the excessive bleeding practised in that country, recover their strength; remittent and epidemic fevers also disappear, as if by enchantment. Such is the salutary influence of this wind, that, while it lasts, infection cannot be communicated even artificially. This assertion rests upon the following fact :
“In 1770, there was an English vessel at Wydah, called the Unity, which was loaded with three hundred negroes.
The small pox having appeared among some of them, the owner determined to inoculate the rest. All who were thus operated upon, before the Harmattan began to blow, took the infection. Seventy were inoculated the second day after that wind began to blow, and not one of these had the disease, or the least eruption. However, some weeks afterwards, when the Harmattan no longer blew, these very persons took the disorder. It is also added, that during the second appearance of the malady, the Harmattan began to blow again, and sixty-nine slaves, who had it, all recovered.
“The country over which this remarkable wind passes before it reaches the coast, is for two hundred and forty miles, composed of verdant plains, entirely open, some woods of small extent, and here and there a few rivers and inconsiderable lakes.—pp. 99-103.
Other disasters and indeed all sorts of malign influences, have been attributed to comets by authors every way entitled to respect; and this has been done without taking the trouble to assign any definite cause for effects of so various a character, or to point out any connexion whatever, depending upon the known laws of the world we live in. Mr. Arago, of course, espouses the cause of comets, and maintains their innocence to our entire satisfaction. We have room for only a few quotations, with which we close the present article.
“An English physician, whose name is not unknown to philosophers, Mr. T. Forster, has lately treated particularly of this subject. According to him, ' It is certain, that ever since the Christian era, the most unhealthy periods are precisely those in which
some great comet has appeared ; that the approach of these bodies to our earth has always been accompanied by earthquakes, eruptions of volcanoes, and atmospheric commotions; whereas, no comet has ever been seen during the salubrious periods.'
“ Those who will take the pains to examine critically the long catalogue, given by Mr. Forster, will not, I am sure, be led to the same conclusions.
“ The whole number of comets mentioned by historians, reckoning from the beginning of the Christian era to the present time, is about five hundred. At the present time, when the heavens are examined attentively and skilfully, when comets that can be seen only by the aid of the telescope are no longer overlooked, the average number of these bodies is more than two for each year. If we agree with Mr. Forster, that their influence begins before they are visible, and continues some time after, we shall never be without a comet to account for every phenomenon, misfortune, or epidemic that can occur. This remark is applicable also to the Memoirs of the celebrated Sydenham, who was an advocate for the influence of comets; to the dissertations of Lubinietski, &c. Mr. Forster has moreover, 1 ought to say, so extended, in his learned catalogue, the influences of comets, that it would seem there is scarcely a phenomenon which is not to be ascribed to them.
"Hot and cold seasons, tempests, hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, violent hail-storms, great falls of snow, heavy rains, overflowings of rivers, droughts, famines, thick fogs, flies, grasshoppers, plague, dysentery, contagious diseases among animals, &c., are all registered by Mr. Forster, as consequences of the appearance of some comet, whatever may be the continent, the kingdom, the town, or the village so visited. By thus making out for each year a complete catalogue of all the miseries of this lower world, any one might foresee that a comet would never approach the earth, without finding a part of its inhabitants suffering under some calamity or other.
“ By a strange accident, well worthy of remark, the year 1680, the
year of the most brilliant of modern comets, the year of its passage so near the earth, is that which has furnished our author with the fewest phenomena. Let us see what is to be found under this date? A cold winter, followed by a hot and dry summer; meteors in Germany.' As to maladies, we find no record whatever! How then, with such a fact as this before us, can we attach any importance to the accidental coincidences noted in other parts of this table? How are we to regard this celebrated comet of 1680, which, blowing now hot and now cold, increased the frosts of winter, and the heat of summer?
“In 1665, the city of London was ravaged by the plague. If, with Mr. Forster, we attribute this to the remarkable comet which appeared the same year, in the month of April, how are we to explain why the same pestilence did not extend to Paris, to Holland, to any of the numerous towns in England except the capital ? This difficulty must be met; and until it is done away, we shall expose ourselves to the ridicule of every man of sense, if we attempt to make comets the messengers of evil.
“Let us now see which are the comets whose tails may have mingled with the earth's atmosphere; and then search the histories and chronicles of the same period, to discover whether, at the same time, there were not manifested, in all parts of the earth at once, unusual phenomena. Science may take note of such researches ; though, to tell the truth, the extreme rarity of the matter which composes the tail, would lead one to expect nothing but negative results; but when an author appends to the date of a comet, like that of 1668, the remark that all the cats in Westphalia were sick; and to the date of another, that of 1746, the circumstance, very little analogous to the former, to be sure, that an earthquake destroyed in Peru the towns of Lima and Callao; when he adds that, during the appearance of a third comet, a meteoric stone fell in Scotland, into a high tower and broke the wheels of a clock; that, during the winter, wild pigeons appeared in large flocks in America ; or still ajore, that Ætna or Vesuvius threw out torrents of lava, we must consider him as displaying his learning to little purpose. If, in thus registering contemporary events, he thinks he has established some new relations between them, he is as much mistaken as the old woman, mentioned by Bayle, who, never having put her head out of her window without seeing coaches in the Rue St. Honoré, imagined herself to be the cause of their passing.
“I wish, for the honor of science, that I could have dispensed with taking any serious notice of the ridiculous ideas I have just adverted to; but I am satisfied that this exposition will not be without use, for Gregory, Sydenham, and Lubinietski have many followers among us.
“ Moreover, if you will only listen, in those circles which are called fashionable, to the long discourses of which the approaching comet is the theme, you may decide whether there is any room to congratulate ourselves upon the pretended diffusion of knowledge, which so many perfectionists are pleased to consider as the distinguishing feature of our age. For myself, I have long been cured of these illusions. Under the brilliant but superficial gloss, with which the purely literary studies of our colleges cover all classes of society, we almost always find, to speak plainly, a profound ignorance of those beautiful phenomena, those grand laws of nature, which are our best safeguard from prejudice.”
Art. IX. - Chief Justice Marshall.
the Hon. John Marshall, LL.D., Chief Justice of
request. Boston, James Munroe & Co. 1835. This beautiful work is entitled to a very high rank among compositions of its class. For the combination of truth, eloquence, and the fine expression of natural feeling, we should be at a loss to point to its equal. The introductory remarks are simple, dignified and elevating; and they breathe that lively sensibility to moral greatness without which no one could do justice to the subject of the discourse. The narrative portion is written in a clear and flowing style, with rather more of a tendency to wander aside into episodical digressions, than a severe criticism might approve, though perhaps, it would not be possible to give a correct view of the life of Chief Justice Marshall without including a good deal of contemporaneous history ; his own share in the leading events having been so prominent, and he having been so conspicuous a member of one of the two great parties which divided the country. It is marked by a copiousness and minuteness of detail, arising both from intimate knowledge of the eminent man, whom the discourse commemorates, and a thorough acquaintance with the general and political history of the country, during the period of his active services. Many of the facts and statements are such as could have been derived from no other source than the lips of Chief Justice Marshall himself, and we may esteem ourselves fortunate that the duty of writing his Eulogy has fallen to the lot of one, who, for so many years, enjoyed his confidence so fully, and who had such ample opportunities of becoming familiar with the inmost workings of his mind, and the least obvious manifestations of his character. But the most valuable part of the Eulogy is that, in which the commanding moral and intellectual lineaments of Chief Justice Marshall are so justly and glowingly depicted, and the ruling principles of bis life are educed from the events of his biography. In the Darrative of facts, one accomplished writer will not vary essen- NO. 90.