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THE GULF STREAM.
THE GULF STREAM.
From the Gulf of Mexico there is a current of water constantly flowing outward toward the north, and passing between the Bahama Islands and the shores of Florida, known as the “ Gulf Stream." This current proceeds along the coast of the United States as far north as Cape Hatteras, where it gradually turns eastward, and finally bends so far southward as to touch the Azore Islands. Its length is estimated at more than threc thousand miles, and its waters are supposed to extend to the shores of Europe, as far as the North Cape.
On passing the Straits of Florida, the velocity of the stream is estimated at one hundred miles per day, and at forty miles per day at a distance of one thousand miles from the Gulf of Mexico. The water in the Gulf Stream is more salt, warmer, and of a deeper blue than the rest of the ocean, till it reaches Newfoundland, where it becomes somewhat turbid from the shallowness of that part of the sea.
The highest temperature of water belonging to the Atlantic Ocean is found in the Gulf of Mexico, where it is eighty-eight degrees of Fahrenheit. As the Gulf Stream, which carries this warm water along, proceeds northward, it becomes gradually wider and wider, spreading over a vast surface of the ocean, giving warmth to the colder climates through which it passes, wbile its own temperature diminishes. Lieut. Maury says, “that the quantity of heat which it spreads over the Atlantic in a winter's day would be sufficient to raise the whole atmosphere that covers France and Great Britain from the freezing-point to summer heat, and that it really is the cause of the mildness and of the damp of Ireland and the south of England." We can readily see its effects on the climate of the northwest of Europe by comparing it with the same latitude on the shores of America. On the coast of Labrador we find perpetual snow and ice, while Great Britain, of the same latitude, is clothed in robes of green, and seldom has any snow.
In summer there is a northern current coming from the coast of Greenland and Labrador, floating icebergs from the polar regions. This cold current meets the Gulf Stream on the banks of Newfoundland, and the difference between the temperature of these two oceanic streams as they come in contact is the cause of the dense fog that broods over that region.
The north polar current becomes warmer from its contact with the Gulf Stream, and passing between that and the coast of the United States, runs on to Florida, and sends an under-current of cool water into the Caribbean Sea. The water on the surface of this sea, and of the Gulf of Mexico, becoming heated by the sun's
rays, flows out in that remarkable current known as the Gulf Stream. Thus, owing to the influence of the sun's heat, and the rotation of the earth from west to east, this great stream is continually sending its vast tide of warm water to the north to moderate the cold of those regions, making climates genial which otherwise might become bleak and dreary wastes.
Even far to the north, the water in this astonishing current is always from eight to twenty degrees warmer than the surrounding ocean, and imparts its temperature to the superincumbent atmosphere, thus generating fearful storms. It is also, as has previously been hinted, the great thawing laboratory for all the ice that comes down from the polar regions, and thus those inhospitablemountains of floating ice are dissolved in nature's furnace and prevented from intruding on the more genial climes of the south.
The Gulf Stream is not only the most interesting of the ocean currents, but is the most important in its relations to the commerce of Europe and America. It was doubtless by this great current that those pieces of wood and other materials were drifted across the Atlantic to the Azores, which so much strengtened Columbus' belief in the existence of a western continent, and led to the open
ing of the gates of the New World. · Owing to the prevalence of westerly winds in the North Atlantic, the voyage from Europe to the United States is longer than that from the latter to Europe; but the Gulf Stream adds still more to this difference; hence it is avoided in voyages from Europe to the United States, as it would lengthen the time some two weeks.
When Dr. Franklin was in England, the merchants of Providence, Rhode Island, petitioned the Lords of the Treasury (it was before the recognition of independence) that the government packets that usually sail from Falmouth to Boston, U. S., might in future sail from London to Providence; and they supported the prayer of their petition by the allegation that the average passage from London to Providence was fourteen days less than from Falmouth to Boston.
Now, Falmouth and Boston being between London and Providence, this statement seemed rather startling, and Dr. Franklin, who was always on the alert when his country's interests were at stake, hearing it, sent for Captain Folger, an old New England whaler, who happened also to be in London at the time. The old Captain immediately accounted for the fact that had puzzled the Doctor.
“The London packets," said he, “are commanded by New Eng. land masters, who know something about the Gulf Stream; the Falmouth by Englishmen, who know nothing about the matter."
This hint was enough for Dr. Franklin. He had taken the temperature of the Gulf Stream, and found it considerably higher than the surrounding ocean. Dipping a thermometer into the sea,
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therefore, showed when you entered and left it. He and the old captain laid down its limits according to the best of the existing information on the charts, and the result was a complete change in the course taken by vessels trading between England and America.
By using or avoiding the Gulf Stream, as circumstances required, for which the thermometer served the purpose of a sextant, the distance between London and New York was shortened from sixty to thirty days. In this way New York became nearer to England than Charleston. It grew into the point for all vessels bound to the New World to touch at, and so assumed the importance of a great commercial depot. Charleston lost its chance of ever growing into the metropolis of the republic; and, to use the words of Lieut. Maury, “all these results are traceable to the use of the thermometer at sea.”
Notwithstanding Franklin's observations on the Gulf Stream so long ago led to such important results in America, yet of this great ocean current comparatively little is yet well known. During a few years past, Lieut. M. F. Maury, of the National Observatory, at Washington, has devoted much time to this subject, and in his recent visit to England has awakened considerable attention to the subject there.
“Nothing less than a great number of observations of every kind, and those made through many seasons, in order to embrace all the variety of causes, can enable the most diligent inquirer to make himself master of the whole subject; and this can be the work of the government only, for individual inquiry can produce little more than unconnected facts.”
America is doing her part in the great work. Holland has also given her adhesion to Lieut. Maury's plans. England could not keep aloof from such an enterprise, so important for her trading interest, so precious in scientific results. And we may hope that ere long the nature and cause of that mysterious and interesting ocean-current, the Gulf Stream, will become fully understood in all its relations to commerce and climate.
_I KNOW B E TᎢ Ꭼ Ꭱ . “I know better,” is often an ugly expression. We have heard boys and girls use it when they were surly and cross, in contradicting those who wish to do them good. It is frequently used by young persons to their parents, and those older than themselves. Let the young remember that if they acquire the habit of pretending to know better than all others, they will, when it is too late, be likely to find that they know less than most people. Such a disposition is very opposite to that humility and docility which become all who wish to be wise, and it is particularly disagreeable in the young.
THE CONTENTED MAN.
FROM THE GERMAN OP JOHAN MARTIN MILLXR. Why need I strive or sigh for wealth ?
It is enough for me
A spirit glad and free;
Houses, herds, and gold have they ;
But fret their hours away.
To me it seems so fair;
And none denied a share.
In beauteous hues are clad;
Caught up by echoes glad.
And all like gold appears ;
And fields have ripening ears :
And say, in joyful mood,
He wills to all men good.
TO THE BUTTERFLY.
BY SAMUEL ROGERS.
Child of the sun! pursue thy rapturous flight,
NO. I.-RETURNING GOOD FOR EVIL.
BY THE EDITOR. “He is overcome of evil who sins against another; because he sins against himself.”—THOMAS AQUINAS.
How many commands there are in the scriptures that are not 80 seriously considered even by Christians as they should be. In- , deed it seems as if they were for the most part regarded as beyond the reach of piety, and are not therefore even earnestly aimed at. They occupy a kind of obsolete position in the practical piety of the age; perhaps because they refer to the higher and deeper life of grace. We feel inclined to call attention to some of these neglected commandments.
Before we proceed, however, let us ask what right we have to chose our “favorites” among the divine commandments. Are they not all of like authority ? and yet how lightly do we regard the evil of coming short in regard to some of them. While we shudder at the idea of violating some, the neglect of others scarcely gives us a serious thought. We scarcely regard them as furnishing any test of our gracious state; we tolerate the neglect of them with an easy conscience, which shows that to all practical purposes these commands are obsolete. Let us look at one of these slighted laws.
We are to return good to those who do us evil. Is not this a command ? Let us see: "Recompense to no man evil for evil.” That is plain and direct. “If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink.” How can we obviate the force of this. “Overcome evil with good.” So act, so do, says God.
Now let us ask, What power has this plain injunction to the consciousness of the piety of our age. Is not the idea of giving good for evil nearly obsolete as to its practical application? Is not & man considered soft, and small, and lacking in manliness, who seeks to act in the true spirit of this command? How few keep it. Yea, how few seriously, prayerfully, and earnestly aim at keeping it!
Let us see. When, and in what particular case did we make the effort to overcome evil with good? When, after receiving an injury from a fellow being, did we study how we might do him a kindness and a good in return? We “marked" him; we “remembered” him; but not to do him a favor. Yet his doing us evil, laid on us the duty of doing him good; and as soon as the evil was done to us, it was our duty to study earnestly how we might return him good. This duty lies heavier on us now than it did before we received the injury. Before that we owed him in general
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