Imágenes de páginas

additional importance, by being joinfection, which in the most pleasing ed to the British triangulations. This manner mingles itself with these geseries of operations, begun by Gene- neral sentiments. ral Roy, and continued after him by M. Biot left Paris in the beginning Colonel Mudge, was prolonged from of May, 1817, carrying with him the the south of England to the north same apparatus which he had used on of Scotland, and in that extent pre- the other points of the meridian,-a sented many degrees of the meridi-repeating circle, by M. Fontin, an an, measured with excellent instru- astronomical clock, and chronomements. But England, being a little ters, by M. Breguet, and every thing to the west of the French arc, there else that the observations required. By was ground to fear lest all the ter- the interest of Sir Joseph Banks, the restrial meridians not being exactly baggage was landed at Dover, and alike, the difference of longitude carefully brought to London, free would affect the results obtained from duty, and, what is of greater imfrom the junction. The measure- portance, from all that vexatious inments of the pendulum, however, were spection which is, in ordinary cases, much less liable to be disturbed by attached to the present system for any slight irregularities of the figure collecting the revenue; and which is of the earth. The Board of Longi- most especially chilling, when the imtude was desirous that the same ap- plements of science are subjected paratus which had served for these to it. When he came to Edinburgh, measurements in France and Spain Colonel Mudge, and Colonel Elphinshould be employed over the whole ston, commandant of the military enextent of the English arc. The cor- gineers, afforded him every assistance dial co-operation of the scientific possible. He went along with Cocharacters in Britain, and the coun- lonel Mudge to the battery of Leith, tenance of the government, were of where his first station was fixed. For course given to this great operation. erecting his circle, he constructed Sir Joseph Banks and Sir Charles on the terrace of the Fort a portable Blagden, having assured the French observatory, which, being easily taboard of all possible facilities in this ken to pieces at pleasure, enabled him country, M. Lainé, the minister of to make observations on all sides of the interior, furnished the means for the horizon. That the apparatus of this enterprize, and the Board of the pendulum might be fixed with Longitude entrusted M. Biot with solidity, stones of great weight were the execution of it.

fixed in thick walls with iron chains. The circumstances of the visit At this period, M. Biot wisely deterpaid by this eminent man, on an oc. mined not to indulge in the interestcasion so conspicuous in the annals ing observations which were contiof science, cannot fail to interest nually suggested by every surroundevery intelligent person in those parts ing object, in a country which he of England, Scotland, and Shetland, had never before visited, till he had which were honoured with his pre-' finished the minute labours in which sence. The handsome and delicate his duties had engaged liim, manner in which M. Biot relates the subject of weights, lengths, and meaparticulars of his journey, forces us sures. Having finished his observato cherish with the greater pleasure tions at Leith, his next object was the feelings of reverence due to his to repeat them in the Orkneys, the character, and awaken a personal af- extreme liinit of the English

on the


Colonel Mudge perceived that it was hospitable and obliging conduct of possible to connect the Orkneys the inhabitants dissipated the feel. with the Shetland Isles, by triangles, ing of banishment which the physiwhose apices should rest on the in- cal aspect of the country tended to termediate rocks of Faira and Fowla. create. All the comforts which the This plan extended the new arc two country could afford, and all the asdegrees to the north. It had still sistance which the inhabitants were another important advantage, that of capable of administering towards the carrying the English line of opera- completion of the scientific object, tions two degrees towards the east, al- were instantly at their service. Dr. most upon the meridian of Formen- Edmonstone (who is mentioned as tera, M. Biot's last southern station having studied at Paris), gave them on the Mediterranean. By this happy his best counsel. They had intendextension of the plan, the English ed originally to establish themselves operation became a prolongation of at Lerwick, and to avail themselves the French one,—the two together of Fort-Charlotte, as affording a very forming an arc almost equal to the favourable situation for the appara- fourth-part of the distance from the tus; but they were now attracted by pole to the equator. This arc, M. the advantages of the little Isle of Biot proposes as the most beautiful Unst, the most northerly of the Archiand sure element that could be adopt- pelago, as extending the arc about ed, for the base of a common sys- half a degree to the north, and lying tem of measures among the different also a little more easterly,—and, connations of Europe. Colonel Mudge's sequently, nearer to the meridian health not permitting him to give his of Formentera. Here they were personal assistance in these further hospitably received into the house operations, his place was supplied by of Mr Edmonstone, to whom they Captain Mudge, his son. The ap- brought an introduction from his paratus, observatory, iron chains, and brother. A large sheep-house, with large stones, were all embarked, with thick walls, not being occupied duthe instruments of the English opera- iing summer, had the honour to retion, in the Investigator brig of war, ceive the apparatus of the pendulum. for Aberdeen. From hence they set The portable observatory, together sail for Shetland, on the 9th July. with the repeating circle, were estaAfter leaving the Orkneys on the 6th blished in Mr Edmonstone's garden. day, and passing the Isle of Faira, It was not without much labour, that which recalled that important event they succeeded in landing the large in British history, the fate of the Spa- stones, and dragging them to their Dish Armada, the admiral of which place of destination. It required all was wrecked on its rocks, they came the efforts of the brig's crew, animain sight of the peaks of Shetland on ted by the perseverance of the offithe 18th of July, and at last landed cers. On the 2d of August they were on its rocky shore,—where he could in a condition to commence their asnot fail to be impressed with the con- tronomical observations; and on the trast which its bare and desolate as- loth, the first experiment was made pect afforded with the recollection of with the pendulum. By the 17th, the scene of former operations, the they had eight of these experiments, bland climate, and classic soil of the and 270 observations of the latitude. kingdom of Valencia. As soon as M. Biot was now certain of the sucthey came to Lerwick, however, the cess of the experiment. Nothing was required but time and perseverance. each of five or six hours,—1400 obCaptain Mudge, however, beginning servations of the latitude, in 55 series, to suffer in his health from the climate, made both on the south and north of embraced an opportunity of return- the zenith,—and about 1200 obsering to the south, by a whaler which vations of the absolute heights of the passed on her return from Spitzber- sun and stars, to regulate the going gen.

But native resources for the of his clock. His exertions were alassistance of the philosopher were most exclusively confined to the lasoon discovered in this place. As the bour of observing. He did not, in working of the repeating circle re- this place, calculate more than three quired two persons, the one to follow or four observations, at great interthe star, and the other to mark the vals from each other, in order to asindications of the level, Mr Edmon- sure himself of their general rate, and stone suggested the employment of guide him in the continuation of them, a young carpenter,, who could not delaying the final calculation till his reonly write and cypher very well (these turn to Paris. At the time of writing qualifications being here matters of his Narrative, he had devoted much course,) but had given proofs of par- time to the calculations, but had not ticular intelligence and address in quite finished them; yet the agreement setting up the observatory. M. Biot, of those observations the calculations sinplifying his task as much as pos- of which were completed, shewed the sible, gave him some lessons pre- accuracy which may be expected viously to the departure of Captain from them. The results which are Mudge. This person performed his deduced from them, being combined part with the greatest fidelity. “ On with those of Formentera of the arc no account whatever,” says M. Biot, of France, give, for the flattening of “ even to satisfy my impatience to the earth, exactly the same value observe, would he admit my results which is deduced from the theory of to be good, before they were strictly the moon, and the ineasurement of within the condition which I had pre- the degrees compared at great disscribed to him, that is, before the tances. This perfect agreement bebubble of the level was in a state of tween determinations so different perfect immobility.” He soon learn- shews at once the certainty of the reed to acquit himself in a manner com- sult, and the sure method which scipletely satisfactory. Yet M. Biotence employs to obtain it. It is not had, among the numbers which the without trouble that this point of precarpenter wrote, certain relations cision has been reached. The variawhich would have shewn him his tion of the length of the pendulum, errors, if he had committed any, by which the fattening is measured, This sometimes happened in the com• is in all, from the equator to the pole, mencement; and the carpenter was only four millimetres, that is, less always much surprised at his being than the fifth-part of an inch, and able to detect and correct a mis- from Formentera to the Isle of Unst, take which he had not seen made. one millimetre and a half, or less than But, at the end of three days, he three-fortieths of an inch. It is these became sufficiently expert to make three-fortieths of an inch, however, no more errors. In the course of which, appreciated as can now be two months, M. Biot, with these done, exhibit and measure, even with means at his disposal, succeeded in great accuracy, the flattening of the collecting 38 series of the pendulum, whole terrestrial sphaeroid, and prove

to us, that, notwithstanding slight ac. and to an extreme degree the reverse cidents of composition and arrange- of comfortable. This we could have ment which the exterior surface on wished to be otherwise, though we which we move presents to us, the hear nothing of it from himself. But interior of the mass of our planet is we speak entre no:ls. It is a recomposed of strata perfectly regular, mark which the politeness of our conand subjected to the laws of super- tinental neighbours will never permit position, density, and form, which them to translate into a foreign lanwould have been assigned to them by guage. The strain of acute observation à primitive state of fluidity.

which M. Biot employs in explainAfter relating these labours, M. ing the happiness of the Shetlanders, Biot makes some remarks on the makes us, in a few words, more intiscenes which passed in review before mately acquainted than we previoushim on this occasion. He does not ly were with the character and state write like a pedantic, dry, mathema. of these secluded neighbours.--No tical philosopher, exclusively attached observation occurs on the state of to his particuler department, but like inns of this country, on the qualities a citizen of the who was inte- of the tea, the coffee, or the wines, rested in remarking the leading fea. set before him. Had he been ob. tures of the society into which he liged, on any occasion, to satisfy was thus casually introduced. His the cravings of nature with oatmeal gratitude for the attentions which porridge, we perceive that no faswere paid to him, and his high re- tidious or envious exclamations on spect for the scientific zeal of our' the pretended coarseness of our falearned men, and the honourable vourite burgou would have escaped promptness of our government in the him. No graphic delineations of the estimable cause, are expressed with individuals whom he met in Edinout exception, and without those no- burgh are permittted to fall from tices of imperfections by which infe- his pen, for the gratification of vulrior minds delight to display their gar curiosity; but he, in one or two ingood taste, without looking forward teresting strokes, characterizes those to the noxious influence of such re. leading features of society, which emmarks in generating, on the one hand, brace all ranks, and terminate in the feelings of paltry triumph, and, on broad concerns of humanity. At the the other, those of wounded sel:-love. close of his trip, he returns exultingExceptions to the general success of ly into the bosom of his native France, our intended good usage, must, in affording a happy specimen of the the nature of things, have occurred. comfortable fact--that people in geM. Biot, we understand, was brought neral love their own country better from Shetland to Edinburgh in a than any other, and can never love heavy equinoxial gale, which accom- it the less for looking with a benignant plished the voyage in 50 hours. For eye on the most exotic scenes of huthe gale no set of human beings is man society. accountable, but the vessel was poor,





Travels in North America, with a view to emigration.-Birkbeck, Fearon,

Bradbury, Palmer, Hall.--The Eastern States.- Passage of the Alleghany. - Western States.-Canada.-Expeditions to the Norih.— Captain Rose's Voyage round Baffin's Bay.— Morier's Second Journey in Persia_0.xley's Expedition into the interior of New South Wales.

The direction of the national curio. paratively high wages and cheap subsity during this year was chiefly givensistence, could no longer be considerby that distress and want which had ed as an unoccupied country. But been, and in some degree continued to beyond their boundary chain of the Al. be, deeply felt throughout Europe. leghany, a passage had been recently The stagnation of all branches of in. opened, into that almost endless plain, dustry, the multitude of people who which reaches westward across the had been thrown out of the occupa- continent; a tract comprising perhaps tions afforded by war, produced a the greatest extent of fertile land, wa. large surplus population, some part of tered by the most magnificent rivers, which could scarcely obtain a bare any where to be found in the globe,subsistence ; while others could no but which, till lately, comprehended longer enjoy those comforts and ac- only commodations which habit had ren

realms immense, and blooming wilds dered necessary. At the same time, And fruitful deserts-worlds of solitude, the great vicissitudes of the world had Where the sun shone, and seasons teem'd in inspired a love of change and adven- vain,

Unseen and unerjoy'd, ture, which made men not unwilling to seek a more auspicious lot, even in but which was now fast covering with the rudest and most distant climates. populousness and European art. This In this situation the great western seat of a future mighty empire drew world opened, as it were, its arms to a continued train of adventurers from receive them. The American United the eastern and already settled parts States, though they still offered come of the United States; it attracted, at

« AnteriorContinuar »