« ZurückWeiter »
treating the Huttonian theory of rain, Mr. Espy enters upon a calculation to show, that a rain such as fell at Wilmington on the 29th of July, 1834, of 5.1 inches, could not follow from the mingling of the whole atmosphere over that region, at extreme temperatures; and he adds, "If gentlemen will frame theories on loose principles, without once putting these principles to the test of calculation, and without even taking the least notice of the latent heat of vapor, or the specific heat of air, they ought not to be surprised, that a little plain arithmetic should dissipate their empty visions, and leave not a wreck behind.'"'*
Both here and elsewhere, † Mr. Espy has discreditably misrepresented Dr. Hutton's theory of rain. His "little plain arithmetic" assumes a case (that is, a still atmosphere), which would, if admissible, be just as fatal to his theory as to Dr. Hutton's. He knows, that such an objection as this is answered in all treatises on meteorology, by the great effect of variable winds in transporting the humidity of the air in every direction, and by numberless currents in every locality and at every altitude, blending together the vapor raised at diverse places, and thus producing, in accordance with the hypothetical principles, sufficient sources of more or less abundant precipitation. It is the mingling of currents from different quarters, and at various temperatures, which produces rain in Mr. Espy's theory. He suggests, that the concurrence of the winds obeys a certain law. Admit this law to be true, yet after the streams of converging air have met, nature will deposit their moisture according to laws discovered by Dr. Hutton; and we regard his omission of Dr. Hutton's principle of the relative ratios of increase of the temperature of the air, and of the aqueous vapor, as a great oversight. But to speak of the hypothesis of Dr. Hutton, which, for forty years, has been accepted by the scientific men of Europe as the most plausible theory of rain ever invented, as an empty vision framed on loose principles, is language so indecently disrespectful to this profound mathematician, ingenious theorist, and skilful experimentalist, characterized as it is with the exultation of superior success, that it merits, and shall receive at our hands, the severest rebuke.
Philosophy of Storms, p. 444.
We have no space left to fulfil our first intention of taking such extended notice of Professor Loomis's paper as its importance claims. It is elaborated with remarkable care and ingenuity, and to give it a high praise is worthy of its author. We trust we shall hear soon of the removal of this able inquirer to some university in the Atlantic cities, where he may take his proper place in the front rank of American science. To the subject before us, our scientific countrymen may turn with just and honorable pride. It has revealed new and valuable facts, and these facts are of that class which lead to the knowledge of general laws. It has served the great cause of civilization and humanity, by giving fresh security to navigation, and by imparting to the seaman new and useful guides, when he fearlessly steers his ship into the hostile regions of storms,
"And through the shock
And more endangered, than when Argo passed
ART. V.-1. An Address to the People of Rhode Island, delivered in Newport, May 3, 1843, in Presence of the General Assembly, on Occasion of the Change in the Civil Government of Rhode Island. By WILLIAM G. GODDARD. Providence: 1843. 8vo. pp. 80. 2. A Concise History of the Efforts to obtain an Extension of Suffrage in Rhode Island, from the Year 1811 to 1842. By JACOB FRIEZE. Providence: 1842. 12mo. pp. 171.
3. The Affairs of Rhode Island: a Discourse delivered in Providence, May 22, 1842. By FRANCIS WAYLAND. Providence 1842. 8vo. pp. 32.
4. Charge of the Honorable Chief Justice Durfee to the Grand Jury, at the March Term of the Supreme Judicial Court at Bristol, R. I. 1842. 8vo. pp. 16. 5. A Review of Dr. Wayland's Discourse on the Affairs of Rhode Island; a Vindication of the Sovereignty of
the People, and a Refutation of the Doctrines and Doctors of Despotism. By A MEMBER OF THE BOSTON BAR. Boston B. B. Mussey. 1842. 8vo. pp. 30. 6. An Address to the People of Rhode Island on the approaching Election. By JOHN WHIPPLE. Providence 1843. 8vo. pp. 16.
7. Considerations on the Questions of the Adoption of a Constitution and Extension of Suffrage in Rhode Island. By ELISHA R. POTTER. Boston: Thomas H. Webb & Co. 1842. 8vo. pp. 64.
8. A Reply to the Letter of the Honorable Marcus Morton, late Governor of Massachusetts, on the Rhode Island Question. By ONE OF THE RHODE ISLAND PEOPLE. Providence: 1842. 8vo. pp. 32.
THE disturbances in Rhode Island are ended. The new form of civil government, the establishment of which created a revolutionary scene of the most exciting character, actually kindling a civil war within the limits of the State, and menacing the tranquillity of the Union, has gone quietly into operation, hardly a show of opposition being maintained against it. The friends of law and order, as they styled themselves, have achieved a signal victory, and they have not made an ungenerous use of it towards their vanquished opponents. They have wisely tempered justice with mercy, and not allowed the angry passions, which were somewhat stifled by defeat, to be again exasperated by privation and punishment. These passions, therefore, have in a great measure subsided, although a bitter recollection is left in the minds of many, which is kept alive by the evident exultation of the triumphant party. The fire has burned out, though the ashes are not yet cold.
It is a good time, then, to take a calm historical view of the matter, and to extract from it whatever lessons of political wisdom it may be calculated to afford. The question which lies at the bottom of the controversy is one of absorbing interest for every inhabitant of this country, and for every student of the nature and effects of a free government. It is of a speculative character, so far as it involves the problem respecting the origin and rightful existence of every form of civil polity; and it is practical, so far as the changeable nature of our political institutions allows it to
from time to time, and to be discussed with especial reference to proposed essential modifications of the fundamental laws of the States. The recent occurrences in Rhode Island afford a precedent and an illustration to be used in all future controversies of the like character. The decision in this case must exert an important influence on all future decisions of similar questions. It is well, therefore, to consider it now, when the excitement immediately attending the affair has ceased, and before the points at issue are obscured, and the discussion perplexed, by the passions aroused by another incipient revolution in State politics.
The question has little bearing on the present strife of parties in the United States. Whigs and Democrats were arrayed indifferently on either side of the contest in Rhode Island, and in the eagerness with which they engaged in this local warfare, they seemed to forget or to spurn the ties which bound them to the two great parties that divided the whole country. The civil war severed all attachments to parties in national politics, just as, in many cases, it ruptured all family ties, and arrayed brother against brother, and father against son. Not till a comparatively late period in the struggle, did the managers of the old parties in the other States attempt to lay hold of this local contest, and to convert it into what is now usually termed, in the jargon of the day, "political capital" for their own purposes. With this attempted application and management of the dispute, we have nothing to do or to say. The question does not concern a tariff, or a bank, or internal improvements, or the distribution of the public lands. It relates solely to the extension of the right of suffrage, the duty of obedience to existing forms of government, the stability of our political institutions, and the right of revolution. We have a right to consider it, therefore, without abandoning that neutral position in respect to the politics of the day, which this Journal has always studiously maintained.
When the connexion between Great Britain and her American Colonies was broken by the Declaration of Independence, the people of this country did not at once abandon all their civil institutions, and fall back into a state of nature, there to begin the process of forming a government anew and from the very foundations of social life. They adhered closely to their old usages and institutions, their
attachment to them appearing from the very fact, that it was only the violation of these ancient forms and privileges by the arbitrary conduct of the British ministry, which produced the separation from England. The people availed themselves of their newly acquired freedom, not to pull down their old houses, and build new ones, but to restore and repair the ancient homestead. The Colonies retained their independent position with respect to each other, the old boundary lines being in every case preserved. The only difference was, that as they were formerly united only by the tie of common allegiance, so they were now held together only by concert and agreement upon measures for mutual defence. New England maintained her primitive divisions into townships, and the established forms of transacting business in them, through the primary assemblies of the people. The inhabitants of the Southern Colonies preserved their old county lines, their parishes, and their more centralized forms of civil administration. Over the whole country, the great body of the common law was preserved intact, merely the unnecessary adjuncts being cut away, by casting off allegiance to the crown, and no longer acknowledging the supremacy of parliament. The courts of law remained open, and the general organization of the judiciary was left undisturbed.
In those Colonies to which the crown had not expressly granted a charter of liberties, or to which the grant was so narrow, that the local government was constantly checked and controlled by English authority, and the administration of affairs was made quite dependent on the action of the English ministry, the dissolution of the union with Great Britain created a necessity of organizing the government anew, so that it might be administered by itself. A new establishment was needed for the exercise of the new powers acquired by the assumption of independence. The necessity was perceived, and measures were promptly taken to meet it. While the war still raged, and the issue of it was yet uncertain, while the smoke of battle still hung over the plains, and the cannon thundered in the distance, the people went calmly to work to appoint delegates, to hold conventions, and to form and establish new constitutions of government. Never was manifested a more sublime confidence in the ultimate
triumph of a just cause. The people never doubted the