Slike stranica

zone and the temperate zone of the southern hemisphere are not coincident with those of the northern. The icebergs which are formed at the South Pole are carried much nearer to the equator than those found at the North Pole.

An important phenomenon, first pointed out by A. von Humboldt and Dove, is closely connected with what has just been said. The Atlantic shores of the old world are warmer than those in the same latitude of the new world. Norway, England, and France are warmer than Labrador and Canada; Spain, Portugal, and Morocco are warmer than Florida; Congo and Benguela are warmer than Brazil, although the countries brought in contrast all lie on the same parallel.

A similar analogy is drawn from the west shore of America Northern California is warmer than Japan and Corea, which are in the same latitude. It is true, other factors are at work to produce this, such as winds, marine currents, elevations of land, etc., of which more will be said hereafter.

Both of the two great land divisions of the earth, it will thus be seen, have their peculiarities. But there is a great equalizer of their diversities, found in a great coastbelt, of which I must briefly speak. It passes from the Cape of Good Hope northeasterly at an angle of 45°, passing through the Mozambique channel, thence skirting the entire southeastern and eastern coast of Asia, taking in China, Corea, Japan, and South Kamtckatka; thence it turns southward, following the whole western shore of America to Cape Horn. This belt is broken at only two points a brief break at the north, at Behring's Straits, and a large one between Cape Horn and the Cape of Good Hope; in other words, at the points nearest to the North

and the South Poles respectively. This coast belt has a relation to the habitable world similar to that held by the temperate zone as a mediator between the torrid and the frigid. It partakes of the character of the sea and the land, and shows the advantages of both. It does not run parallel with the lines of latitude, but crosses them diagonally, in the same direction with the ecliptic, though at a more acute angle. This belt moderates all extremes. Coincident with it are the paths of the sea and land winds, the course of the monsoons, the most fertile shores of the whole globe. It divides the surface of the globe into three great divisions, the two great bodies of water, and the great, and, comparatively speaking, unbroken (for the break at Behring's Straits is of little importance) landmass. On the great coast line referred to above is the center of the great natural acclivities of the globe. It is the most varied, the most stimulating, and the most productive in all departments of the vegetable and animal kingdoms. The Atlantic coast belt, which also has great influence on the eastern districts of the new world and the western districts of the old, crosses the great coast belt at almost right angles at the place of its great sundering between Cape Horn and the Cape of Good Hope.

If the contrast between the sea and the land has the effect indicated above on the general development of organic life, it must of course have great effect also on the life and character of man. Man eminently depends upon the conditions amid which his lot is cast. The inhabitant of one of the Pacific islands dwelt in a world whose utmost possibilities to him lay in the adjacent islands within view, and which his canoe could reach in a few hours' sail. The difference in culture between him and those whose range of observation has been greater, must be immense.

The compacted land division of the globe, the solid cluster of continents, must be the source of stimulus and culture, of which the isolated inhabitant of the Pacific islands knew nothing, till commerce had at length linked the world together. Only with the improvements in navigation could civilization reach him. The European had to carry his culture to the New Zealander, his antipode.

The ancients had little suspicion of all this. Yet the contrast between the land world and the water world did not escape Strabo's keen glances, and he hints at its effects on man. It is glanced at in one passage of his 15th Book. He is speaking of the effect of the moist air of India in contrast with the dry air of Libya, and shows that he appreciates that these are not without their influence on the constitution of the Indian and of the Ethiopian. "Some," he says, "rightly ascribe it to the sun, that, in the absence of moisture in their air, the rays burn so deeply into the body of the African; the Indian, on the other hand, is not jet black and curly-haired, because, in his country, he enjoys the moisture in the atmosphere."

The Position of the Continents and its Influence on the Course of History.

Besides the three great forms spoken of above-the compacted land-mass, the great water-mass, and the subordinate water-mass-the position of the continents leads us to another discovery of prime importance.

The question arises, What relation have the continents, taken separately, to the entire mass which they constitute? What relation do they bear to each other? What influence does the proximity of great land forms exercise? What influence their remoteness from each other? Is the arrangement of the continents fortuitous, or adapted to

great ends always held in view by the Creator? Has Nature been left in this to a wild, passionate caprice, or has she been subjected to law, and been compelled to subserve the interests of humanity? And is it not worthy of study, worthy of science, to investigate these things, to master their law, and observe here the workings of the Divine Mind?

In the solar system, we have for a long time minutely studied matters of size and distance, the approach and receding of planets, and observed the effects of all these things with an accuracy which could not be too thorough. In the study of our Earth, this has been neglected, because heretofore those great tracts of land and water have seemed of little mutual influence; because they are fixed forms. Yet they have a greater influence, perhaps, on this very account. Although there is in them no law of gravitation to study, yet there is in them the display of forces no less surprising than those of attraction, and which are to be read in the light, not of mathematics, but in the light of history. It indeed seems self-evident that a grouping of these great forms cannot be without an influence on the progression or retarded development of nations; on the amount of population, the progress of colonization, and the union of States in offensive and defensive alliance. Should a higher Power throw the continents out of their present position and relation to each other, a new history of the world would date from this day.

Here, then, is the primary element of history; the laws of continental arrangement are the starting-point. Mathematics has thrown a net-work of meridians and parallels over the surface of the globe; but these lines exercise little influence over the course of history. The symmetry and regularity which they suggest do not belong to the earth;

the earth is not bounded, like a crystal, by right lines. There is a freer play than that mathematical mark of parallels and meridians suggests; there is an interdependence of the great land districts of the globe that these regular lines do not indicate; a higher law of order, evolving the most perfect results from elements seemingly the most discordant.

The Pyramidal Forms of the Great Land-masses, and their Southward Direction toward the Oceanic Hemisphere.

The great land-mass of the globe accumulates in size as we advance toward the North Pole. South of 55° S. lat., the continental form disappears, and the tracts discovered of late years in the neighborhood of the South Pole are apparently islands, or rather long ice-coasts, whose continental form is very doubtful. The great land division, embracing both the old and the new worlds, reaches to about 80° N. lat., and the extreme points come even yet nearer to the Pole. The distances of one body from another, as, for instance, from Greenland to Iceland, are very small, in comparison with the immense spaces which divide the southern points of the continent, where the hundreds of miles of separation at the north expand into thousands. Expansion of the land-mass is the law at the north, contraction at the south. The great land formations terminate in wedge-shaped extremities, a fact observed by Lord Bacon, J. R. Forster, and Steffens; America ending at Cape Horn, 55° S. lat. Australia. which may be considered to embrace Tasmania or Van Diemen's Land, at the southern extremity of the latter, 45°, and Africa, at the Cape of Good Hope, 35° S. lat., respectively. Humboldt gave the name of "Pyra

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