« ZurückWeiter »
that pour such a wealth of luxuriance on contiguous shores. Clarified, condensed by the great alembic of the skies, held in the strong hand of the Benefactor of the human race, they are borne along to the expectant fields. The first blades of grass feel their touch, and spring into verdure and beauty. Ireland, in a latitude further north than that of Labrador, smiles her welcome at the genial visitant from the moist and warm sky, and sits a queen by the sea, clad in robes of emerald. Greenland, wild and frozen, wakes from her wintry slumber to watch the gentle murmurs of the passing Gulf Stream. On the shores of Iceland roses blossom in the vapours of the drifted sea; and even where FRANKLIN, and PARRY, and KANE stood amid Arctic snows to look out on a wilderness of icy oceans, there comes the warmer breath that the Gulf Stream bears on its wondrous waves. The blooming crown of Ceres is placed on the frowning brow of Erebus. What is the cause of all these wonder-working vapours ?
The answer we believe to be the most correct to all these questions is this THE GULF STREAM IS A SUBTERRANEAN WATER. Its chief source of supply will be found, we apprehend, to be the Mediterranean Sea. This great sea, it is well known, has received a constant flow from the South Atlantic Ocean ever since man has had a knowledge of its existence. A vessel left at the opening of the Straits of Gibraltar, leading into the Mediterranean, will steadily drift into that sea, though unguided by sails or any outward motive power. The current sweeps in at the rate of three miles an hour, and none exists on the surface or beneath to counteract it. There is no other outlet to this sea but that at the Straits, while there are twelve rivers flowing into it in different directions, one of them the large river Nile. The practical question naturally arises, Where does this large deposit of the waters of the Atlantic escape? It is proved that it does not flow out at the Straits, and it is impossible that it should pass off in exhalation. The inflow of its rivers and the descent of its rains are amply sufficient to resupply all the water that escapes by exhalation; and if the process were to increase beyond this to a point necessary to account for the supply from the Atlantic, the bed of the Mediterranean would long ere this have become a solid body of salt.
The so-called Gulf Stream, and other kindred currents, are the natural outlets for the great water-basin of the Mediterranean. The main stream of deposit, entering the earth by means of the vortex, or water-caverns, of Scylla and Charybdis, passes under the earth in the direction of the west, and finds a kindred opening to the surface off the
coast of Yucatan, on the South American continent. Here, in the waters of the Atlantic, the first appearance of this great Stream is presented. Here, at once, in this distant ocean, its colour, its current, its heat, its sedges, its eddies and vapours From this point it is urged onward by the pressure from beneath, fed all appear to view. by its exhaustless supply, the Atlantic feeding the Atlantic through the Straits of Gibraltar, the Mediterranean Sea, the broad and deep channels beneath our globe, until it proceeds, in its grand march of waves, along the North American coast to that of Great Britain and the open Arctic Sea. The steady current is given by its own motionthe same as that with which it starts at the Straits of Gibraltar. The colour is imparted by the mineral forces with which it comes in contact and commingles during much of its interior passage. The heat is derived from its proximity to those igneous portions of the earth along which it flows. Its sedges are drawn in at its entrance into its channels, and are added to by others that grow on the vast cliffs and the sides of caverns that underlie this planet. Its gases are produced by its cohesion with the confined cavernous airs among which it moves upward to the surface. Its eddies and whirlpools are caused by the force of the interior pressure, driving up the warm water constantly into that which is colder.
Such is the origin and character of this wonder of the waters of the earth. A line drawn across this planet from the vortex of Scylla and Charybdis, in the Mediterranean, directly through the Atlantic Ocean to the American continent, will take you exactly to the spot where the so-called "Gulf Stream" appears, in the sea off Yucatan. By calculation, it will be found that the rate required to bring this body from Europe to America is precisely the rate by which it returns; and the quantity of space requisite for the purpose of filling the chasm is the equal quantity derived from the Mediterranean, and filled by the Gulf Stream. We therefore put on record, for the first time in this permanent form, this new theory-THE GULF STREAM IS A SUBTERRANEAN WATER, MAINLY FED BY THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA.
BY JOHN HOLLINGSHEAD.
A SHORT, and by no means an exhaustive or ferocious, article on "Dramatic Critics," in No. I. of THE BROADWAY, written by me, and bearing my signature, has received an amount of attention, polite and impolite, from the metropolitan and provincial press, which the importance of the subject scarcely demanded, and which neither writer, editor, nor publishers ever expected. In many of the "notices" of this article I am made to feel what a terrible thing it is to print the truth in English type, when ninety-nine out of a hundred critics are sheltered behind the fast crumbling defences of anonymous journalism.
First of all, I am accused of rudely trying to undermine these defences, and of violently stripping off those masks under which a number of highly respectable gentlemen, and more or less talented and honest writers, have been in the habit of recording their opinions. My answer is very simple. I want to know what English newspapers there are that admit what are called "London Letters" into their columns, and how often these letters contain the fullest information as to the names and literary peculiarities, not only of dramatic critics, but of other labourers in the newspaper vineyard? I want to know what excellent and admirably-written High Church paper it was which told the public, a few days ago, the private name of Mr. Arthur Sketchley? I want to know who first disclosed the name of Mr. W. H. Russell as a contributor to "The Times ?" who first published the name of Mr. Nicholas Woods as a contributor to the same journal? who put it in the power of Regent Street photographers to sell portraits of the editor at one shilling each? and who announces the departure of Mr. Sala, Mr. E. Dicey, and others, as special correspondents for other journals? I want to know why dramatic reporters, when they show no anxiety, and their editors and employers also show no anxiety, to preserve the anonymous, are the only persons to be kept in masks against their will? The system under which these gentlemen, with one or two exceptions, obtain admission to the theatres, makes them known to managers and actors, the last persons they should be acquainted with in their official capacity, and only keeps their names, if it really does keep them, from their true masters-the public. Is the public entitled to no consideration in
these matters; is it never to know who serves it well, and who badly; and is journalism, because of its immense abusive capacity, to be treated as gingerly as some mysterious brotherhood with the power of life and death in its hands, and to have its most glaring faults always represented as virtues ?
I am accused of criticising my fellow-labourers, as if such a practice were not common in other departments of journalism. Are editors never guilty of criticising editors, essayists of criticising essayists, and novelists of criticising novelists? In a well-conducted literary journal, who is it that gets the special book to review-the man who knows nothing of the subject, or the man who has made it the study of half a life? Is such a man in such a case to be governed by a false etiquette, not very improving to himself, and certainly very injurious to the public, and to refuse the task imposed upon him by an editor who selects him for his special knowledge? I am not aware that I have ever set myself up above my critical brethren. I make no claim to be anything but a mere dramatic reporter, and I certainly have no extravagant notion of the importance of my department of journalism. The dramatic reporter of the present day has to chronicle a vast deal of small-beer that has no very elevating effect upon the spirits.
The severest remarks in the article that has been so extensively reviewed, are made about a writer who died very recently, but not before the remarks were written, printed, and published. I am not accustomed to fight dead men, and would gladly have expunged these remarks. The modern system, however, of publishing in advance for America, placed the type beyond my power; and the notice taken of this paragraph compels me to leave it standing, to show what it is my critics have been fighting against. I have one consolation in this position: many of my critics have made the most of a mere accident -some of them appear to have wilfully closed their eyes to an explanatory note inserted by the editor; and, in any case, the dead man has found plenty of champions.
I have no quarrel with any writer or newspaper, and therefore no inducement to be personal. I have always tried to serve the public honestly-telling it plainly of its many faults-and have always taken the individual responsibility of my writing, either by signing my name, or by collecting my articles at the earliest opportunity. I advise my literary brethren to follow my example; it will prepare them for the day-not far distant, I believe-when anonymous journalism will be, not the rule, but the exception.