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Zetetic Astronomy

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Zetetic Astronomy
Earth Not a Globe
by Parallax (Samuel Birley Rowbotham)
[1881]


Samuel Birley Rowbotham, under the pseudonym 'Parallax', lectured for two decades up and down Britain promoting his unique flat earth theory. This book, in which he lays out his world system, went through three editions, starting with a 16 page pamphlet published in 1849 and a second edition of 221 pages published in 1865. The third edition of 1881 (which had inflated to 430 pages) was used as the basis of this etext.

Rowbotham was an accomplished debater who reputedly steamrollered all opponents, and his followers, who included many well-educated people, were equally tenacious. One of them, John Hampden, got involved in a bet with the famous naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace about the flat earth. An experiment which Hampden proposed didn't resolve the issue, and the two ended up in court in 1876. The judge ruled against Hampton, who started a long campaign of legal harassment of Wallace. Rowbotham hints at the incident in this book.

Rowbotham believed that the earth is flat. The continents float on an infinite ocean which somehow has a layer of fire underneath it. The lands we know are surrounded by an infinite wilderness of ice and snow, beyond the Antarctic ocean, bordered by an immense circular ice-cliff. What we call the North Pole is in the center of the earth.

The Zetetic Sun, moon, planets and stars are all only a few hundred miles above the surface of the earth. The sun orbits the north pole once a day at a constant altitude. The moon is both self-illuminated and semi-transparent. Eclipses can be explained by some unknown object occulting the sun or moon.

Title Page - Preface to the Second Edition - List of Diagrams

Zetetic and Theoretic Defined and Compared[edit]

THE term Zetetic is derived from the Greek verb Zeteo; which means to search, or examine; to proceed only by inquiry; to take nothing for granted, but to trace phenomena to their immediate and demonstrable causes. It is here used in contradistinction from the word "theoretic," the meaning of which is, speculative--imaginary--not tangible,--scheming, but not proving.

None can doubt that by making special experiments, and collecting manifest and undeniable facts, arranging them in logical order, and observing what is naturally and fairly deducible therefrom, the result must be more consistent and satisfactory than the contrary method of framing a theory or system--assuming the existence and operation of causes of which there is no direct and practical evidence, and which is only claimed to be "admitted for the sake of argument," and for the purpose of giving an apparent and plausible, but not necessarily truthful explanation of phenomena. All theories are of this character. "Supposing, instead of inquiring, imagining systems instead of learning from observation and experience the true constitution of things. Speculative men, by the force of genius mayinvent systems that will perhaps be greatly admired for a time; these, however, are phantoms which the force of truth will sooner or later dispel; and while we are pleased with the deceit, true philosophy with all the arts and improvements that depend upon it, suffers. The real state of things escapes our observation; or, if it presents itself to us, we are apt either to reject it wholly as fiction, or, by new efforts of a vain ingenuity to interweave it with our own conceits, and labour to make it tally with our favourite schemes. Thus, by blending together parts so ill-suited, the whole comes forth an absurd composition of truth and error. * * * These have not done near so much harm as that pride and ambition which has led philosophers to think it beneath them to offer anything less to the world than a complete and finished system of Nature; and, in order to obtain this at once, to take the liberty of inventing certain principles and hypotheses from which they pretend to explain all her mysteries."

"Theories are things of uncertain mode. They depend, in a great measure, upon the humour and caprice of an age, which is sometimes in love with one, and sometimes with another."

The system of Copernicus was admitted by its author to be merely an assumption, temporary and incapable of demonstration. The following are his words:--"It is not necessary that hypotheses should be true, or even probable; it is sufficient that they lead to results of calculation which agree with calculation. * * * Neither let anyone, so far as hypotheses are concerned, expect anything certain from astronomy, since that science can afford nothing ofthe kind, lest, in case he should adopt for truth, things feigned for another purpose, he should leave this science more foolish than he came. * * * The hypothesis of the terrestrial motion was nothing but an hypothesis, valuable only so far as it explained phenomena, and not considered with reference to absolute truth or falsehood."

The Newtonian and all other "views" and "systems" have the same general character as the "hypothesis of the terrestrial motion," framed by Copernicus. The foundations or premises are always unproved; no proof is ever attempted; the necessity for it is denied; it is considered sufficient that the assumptions seem to explain the phenomena selected. In this way it is that theory supplants theory, and system gives way to system, often in rapid succession, as one failure after another compels opinions to change. Until the practice of theorising is universally relinquished, philosophy will continue to be looked upon by the bulk of mankind as a vain and mumbling pretension, antagonistic to the highest aspirations of humanity. Let there be adopted a true and practical free-thought method, with sequence as the only test of truth and consistency, and the philosopher may become the Priest of Science and the real benefactor of his species. "Honesty of thought is to look truth in the face, not in the side face, but in the full front; not merely to look at truth when found, but to seek it till found. There must be no tampering with conviction, no hedging or mental prevarication; no making 'the wish father to the thought;' no fearing to arrive at a particular result. To think honestly, then, is to think freely; freedom and honesty of thoughtare truly but interchangeable terms. For how can he think honestly, who dreads his being landed in this or that conclusion? Such an one has already predetermined in his heart how he shall think, and what he shall believe. Perfect truth, like perfect love, casteth out fear."

Let the method of simple inquiry--the "Zetetic" process be exclusively adopted--experiments tried and facts collected--not such only as corroborate an already existing state of mind, but of every kind and form bearing on the subject, before a conclusion is drawn, or a conviction affirmed.

"Nature speaks to us in a peculiar language; in the language of phenomena. She answers at all times the questions which are put to her; and such questions are experiments."

"Nature lies before us as a panorama; let us explore and find delight, she puts questions to us, and we may also question her; the answers may ofttimes be hard to spell, but no dreaded sphinx shall interfere when human wisdom falters."

We have an excellent example of a "Zetetic" process in an arithmetical operation, more especially so in what is called the "Golden Rule," or the "Rule of Three." If a hundredweight of any article costs a given sum, what will some other weight, less or more, be worth? The separate figures may be considered as the elements or facts in the inquiry; the placing and working of them as the logical arrangement of the evidence; and the quotient, or answer, as the fair and natural deduction,--the unavoidable or necessitated verdict. Hence, in every arithmetical or "Zetetic" process, the conclusion arrived at is essentially a quotient; which, if the details are correctly worked, must of necessity be true, and beyond the reach or power of contradiction.

We have another example of the "Zetetic" process in our Courts of Justice. A prisoner is placed at the bar; evidence for and against him is demanded: when advanced it is carefully arranged and patiently considered. It is then presented to the Jury for solemn reconsideration, and whatever verdict is given, it is advanced as the unavoidable conclusion necessitated by the whole of the evidence. In trials, for justice, society would not tolerate any other procedure. Assumption of guilt, and prohibition of all evidence to the contrary, is a practice not to be found among any of the civilised nations of the earth--scarcely indeed, among savages and barbarians; and yet assumption of premises, and selection of evidence to corroborate assumptions, is everywhere and upon all subjects the practice of theoretical philosophers!

The "Zetetic" process is also the most natural method of investigation. Nature herself always teaches it; it is her own continual suggestion; children invariably seek information by asking questions, by earnestly inquiring from those around them. Fearlessly, anxiously, and without the slightest regard to consequences, question after question, in rapid and exciting succession, will often proceed from a child, until the most profound in learning and philosophy, will feel puzzled to reply; and often the searching cross-examinations of a mere natural tyro, can only be brought to an end by an order to retire--to bed--to school--to play--to anywhere--rather than that the fiery "Zetetic" ordeal shall be continued.

If then both Nature and justice, as well as the common sense and practical experience of mankind demand, and will not be content with less or other than the "Zetetic" process, why is it ignored and constantly violated by the learned in philosophy? What right have they to begin their disquisitions with fanciful data, and then to demand that, to these all surrounding phenomena be moulded. As private individuals they have, of course, a right to "do as they like with their own;" but as authors and public teachers their unnatural efforts are immeasurably pernicious. Like a poor animal tied to a stake in the centre of a meadow, where it can only feed in a limited circle, the theoretical philosopher is tethered to his premises, enslaved by his own assumptions, and however great his talent, his influence, his opportunities, he can only rob his fellow men of their intellectual freedom and independence, and convert them into slaves like him-self. In this respect astronomical science is especially faulty. It assumes the existence of certain data; it then applies these data to the explanation of certain phenomena. If the solution seems plausible it is considered that the data may be looked upon as proved--demonstrated by the apparently satisfactory explanation they have afforded. Facts, and explanations of a different character, are put aside as unworthy of regard; since that which is already assumed seems to explain matters, there need be no further concern. Guided by this principle, the secretary of the Royal Astronomical Society (Professor De Morgan, of Trinity College, Cambridge), reviewing a paper by the author, in the Athenæum, for March 25th, 1865, says: "The evidence that the earth is round is but cumulative and circumstantial; scores of phenomena ask, separately and independently, what other explanation can be imagined except the sphericity of the earth?" It is thus candidly admitted that there is no direct and positive evidence that the earth is round, that it is only "imagined" or assumed to be so in order to afford an explanation of "scores of phenomena." This is precisely the language of Copernicus, of Newton, and of all astronomers who have laboured to prove the rotundity of the earth. It is pitiful in the extreme that after so many ages of almost unopposed indulgence, philosophers instead of beginning to seek, before everything else, the true constitution of the physical world, are still to be seen labouring only to frame hypotheses, and to reconcile phenomena with imaginary and ever-shifting foundations. Their labour is simply to repeat and perpetuate the self-deception of their predecessors. Surely the day is not far distant when the very complications which their numerous theories have created, will startle them into wakefulness, and convince them that for long ages past they have but been idly dreaming! Time wasted, energies thrown away, truth obscured, and falsehood rampant, constitute a charge so grave that coming generations will look upon them as the bitterest enemies of civilisation, the heaviest drags on the wheels of progress, and the most offensive embodiment of frivolity, pride of learning, and canting formality; worse than this--by their position, their standing in the front ranks of
learning, they deceive the public. They appear to represent a solid phalanx of truth and wisdom, when in reality they are but as the flimsy ice of an hour's induration--all surface, without substance, or depth, or reliability, or power to save from danger and ultimate destruction.

Let the practice of theorising be abandoned as one oppressive to the reasoning powers, fatal to the full development of truth, and, in every sense, inimical to the solid progress of sound philosophy.

If, to ascertain the true figure and condition of the earth, we adopt the "Zetetic" process, which truly is the only one sufficiently reliable, we shall find that instead of its being a globe--one of an infinite number of worlds moving on axes and in an orbit round the sun, it is the directly contrary--a Plane, without diurnal or progressive motion, and unaccompanied by anything in the firmament analogous to itself; or, in other words, that it is the only known material world.

Experiments Demonstrating the True Form of Standing Water, and Proving the Earth to be a Plane[edit]

IF the earth is a globe, and is 25,000 English statute miles in circumference, the surface of all standing water must have a certain degree of convexity--every part must be an arc of a circle. From the summit of any such arc there will exist a curvature or declination of 8 inches in the first statute mile. In the second mile the fall will be 32 inches; in the third mile, 72 inches, or 6 feet, as shown in the following diagram:

FIG. 1

FIG. 1.

Let the distance from T to figure 1 represent 1 mile, and the fall from 1 to A, 8 inches; then the fall from 2 to B will be 32 inches, and from 3 to C, 72 inches. In every mile after the first, the curvature downwards from the point T increases as the square of the distance multiplied by 8 inches. The rule, however, requires to be modified after the first thousand miles. 1 The following table will show at a glance the amount of curvature, in round numbers, in different distances up to 100 miles.

Curvechart432.PNG

It will be seen by this table that after the first few miles the curvature would be so great that no difficulty could exist in detecting either its actual existence or its proportion. Experiments made on the sea shore have been objected to on account of the constantly changing altitude of the surface of the water, and of the existence of banks and channels which produce a "crowding" of the waters, as well as currents and other irregularities. Standing water has therefore been selected, and many important experiments have been made, the most simple of which are the following:--

In the county of Cambridge there is an artificial river or canal, called the "Old Bedford." It is upwards of twenty miles in length, and (except at the part referred to at page 16) passes in a straight line through that part of the Fens called the "Bedford Level." The water is nearly stationary--often completely so, and throughout its entire length has no interruption from locks or water-gates of any kind; so that it is, in every respect, well adapted for ascertaining whether any or what amount of convexity really exists. Footnotes

10:1 Any work on geometry or geodesy will furnish proofs of this declination.

10:2 To find the curvature in any number of miles not given in the table, simply square the number, multiply that by 8, and divide by 12. The quotient is the curvation required.

The Earth No Axial or Orbital Motion[edit]

IF a ball is allowed to drop from the mast-head of a ship at rest, it will strike the deck at the foot of the mast. If the same experiment is tried with a ship in motion, the same result will follow; because, in the latter case, the ball is acted upon simultaneously by two forces at right angles to each other--one, the momentum given to it by the moving ship in the direction of its own motion; and the other, the force of gravity, the direction of which is at right angles to that of the momentum. The ball being acted upon by the two forces together, will not go in the direction of either, but will take a diagonal course, as shown in the following diagram, fig. 46.

FIG. 46. FIG. 46.

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The ball passing from A to C, by the force of gravity, and having, at the moment of its liberation, received a momentum . from the moving ship in the direction A, B, will, by the conjoint action of the two forces A, B, and A, C, take the direction A, D, falling at D, just as it would have fallen at C, had the vessel remained at rest.

It is argued by those who hold that the earth is a revolving globe, that if a ball is dropped from the mouth of a deep mine, it reaches the bottom in an apparently vertical direction, the same as it would if the earth were motionless. In the same way, and from the same cause, it is said that a ball allowed to drop from the top of a tower, will fall at the base. Admitting the fact that a ball dropped down a mine, or let fall from a high tower, reaches the bottom in a direction parallel to the side of either, it does not follow therefrom that the earth moves. It only follows that the earth might move, and yet allow of such a result. It is certain that such a result would occur on a stationary earth; and it is mathematically demonstrable that it would also occur on a revolving earth; but the question of motion or non-motion--of which is the fact it does not decide. It gives no proof that the ball falls in a vertical or in a diagonal direction. Hence, it is logically valueless. We must begin the enquiry with an experiment which does not involve a supposition or an ambiguity, but which will decide whether motion does actually or actually does not exist. It is certain, then, that the path of a ball, dropped from the mast-head of a stationary ship will be vertical. It is also certain that, dropped down a deep mine, or from the top of a high

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tower, upon a stationary earth, it would be vertical. It is equally certain that, dropped from the mast-head of a moving ship, it would be diagonal; so also upon a moving earth it would be diagonal. And as a matter of necessity, that which follows in one case would follow in every other case, if, in each, the conditions were the same. Now let the experiment shown in fig. 46 be modified in the following way:--

Let the ball be thrown upwards from the mast-head of a stationary ship, and it will fall back to the mast-head, and pass downwards to the foot of the mast. The same result would follow if the ball were thrown upwards from the mouth of a mine, or the top of a tower, on a stationary earth. Now put the ship in motion, and let the ball be thrown upwards. It will, as in the first instance, partake of the two motions--the upward or vertical, A, C, and the horizontal, A, B, as shown in fig. 47; but

FIG. 47. FIG. 47.

because the two motions act conjointly, the ball will take the diagonal direction, A, D. By the time the ball has arrived at

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[paragraph continues] D, the ship will have reached the position, 13; and now, as the two forces will have been expended, the ball will begin to fall, by the force of gravity alone, in the vertical direction, D, B, H; but during its fall towards H, the ship will have passed on to the position S, leaving the ball at H, a given distance behind it.

The same result will be observed on throwing a ball upwards from a railway carriage, when in rapid motion, as shown in the following diagram, fig. 48. While the carriage or tender passes

FIG. 48. FIG. 48.

from A to B, the ball thrown upwards, from A towards (2, will reach the position D; but during the time of its fall from D to B, the carriage will have advanced to S, leaving the ball behind at B, as in the case of the ship in the last experiment.

The same phenomenon would be observed in a circus, during the performance of a juggler on horseback, were it not that the balls employed are thrown more or less forward, according to the rapidity of the horse's motion. The juggler standing in the ring, on the solid ground, throws his balls as vertically as he can, and they return to his hand; but when on the back of a rapidly-moving horse, he should throw the balls vertically, before they fell

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back to his hands, the horse would have taken him in advance, and the whole would drop to the ground behind him. It is the same in leaping from the back of a horse in motion. The performer must throw himself to a certain degree forward. If he jumps directly upwards, the horse will go from under him, and he would fall behind.

Thus it is demonstrable that, in all cases where a ball is thrown upwards from an object moving at right angles to its path, that ball will come down to a place behind the point from which it was thrown; and the distance at which it falls behind depends upon the time the ball has been in the air. As this is the result in every instance where the experiment is carefully and specially performed, the same would follow if a ball were discharged from any point upon a revolving earth. The causes or conditions operating being the same, the same effect would necessarily follow.

The experiment shown in fig. 49, demonstrates, however, that

FIG. 49. FIG. 49.

these causes, or conditions, or motion in the earth, do not exist.

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[paragraph continues] A strong cast-iron cannon was placed with the muzzle upwards. The barrel was carefully tested with a plumb line, so that its true vertical direction was secured; and the breech of the gun was firmly embedded in sand up to the touch-hole, against which a piece of slow match was placed. The cannon had been loaded with powder and ball, previous to its position being secured. At a given moment the slow match at D was fired, and the operator retired to a shed. The explosion took place, and the ball was discharged in the direction A, B. In thirty seconds the ball fell back to the earth, from B to C; the point of contact, C, was only 8 inches from the gun, A. This experiment has been many times tried, and several times the ball fell back upon the mouth of the cannon; but the greatest deviation was less than 2 feet, and the average time of absence was 28 seconds; from which it is concluded that the earth on which the gun was placed did not move from its position during the 28 seconds the ball was in the atmosphere. Had there been motion in the direction from west to east, and at the rate of 600 miles per hour (the supposed velocity in the latitude of England), the result would have been as shown in fig. 49. The ball, thrown by the powder in the direction A, C, and acted on at the same moment by the earth's motion in the direction A, B, would take the direction A, D; meanwhile the earth and the cannon would have reached the position B, opposite to D. On the ball beginning to descend, and during the time of its descent, the gun would have passed on to the position S, and the ball would have dropped at B, a consider-able distance behind the point S. As the average time of the ball's absence in the atmosphere was 28 seconds--14 going upwards, and 14 in falling--we have only to multiply the time by the supposed velocity of the earth, and we find that instead of the ball coming down to within a few inches of the

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muzzle of the gun, it should have fallen behind it a distance of 8400 feet, or more than a mile and a half! Such a result is utterly destructive of the idea of the earth's possible rotation.

The reader is advised not to deceive himself by imagining that the ball would take a parabolic course, like the balls and shells from cannon during a siege or battle. The parabolic curve could only be taken by a ball fired from a cannon inclined more or less from the vertical; when, of course, gravity acting in an angular direction against the force of the gunpowder, the ball would be forced to describe a parabola. But in the experiment just detailed, the gun was fixed in a perfectly vertical direction, so that the ball would be fired in a line the very contrary to the direction of gravity. The force of the powder would drive it directly upwards, and the force of gravity would pull it directly downwards. Hence it could only go up in a right line, and down or back to its starting point; it could not possibly take a path having the slightest degree of curvature. It is therefore demanded that, if the earth has a motion from west to east, a ball, instead of being dropped down a mine, or allowed to fall from the top of a tower, shall be shot upwards into the air, and from the moment of its beginning to descend, the surface of the earth shall turn from under its direction, and it would fall behind, or to the west of its line of descent. On making the most exact experiments, however, no such effect is observed; and, therefore, the conclusion is in every sense unavoidable, that THE EARTH HAS NO MOTION OF ROTATION.

p. 69 EXPERIMENT 3.

When sitting in a rapidly-moving railway carriage, let a spring-gun 1 be fired forward, or in the direction in which the train is moving. Again, let the same gun be fired, but in the opposite direction; and it will be found that the ball or other projectile will always go farther in the first case than in the latter.

If a person leaps backwards from a horse in full gallop, he cannot jump so great a distance as he can by jumping forward. Leaping from a moving sledge, coach, or other object, backwards or forwards, the same results are experienced.

Many other practical cases could be cited to show that any body projected from another body in motion, does not exhibit the same behaviour as it does when projected from a body at rest. Nor are the results the same when projected in the same direction as that in which the body moves, as when projected in the opposite direction; because, in the former case, the projected body receives its momentum from the projectile force, plus that given to it by the moving body; and in the latter case, this momentum, minus that of the moving body. Hence it would be found that if the earth is a globe, and moving rapidly from west to east, a cannon fired in a due easterly direction would send a ball to a greater distance than it would if fired in a due westerly direction. But the most experienced artillerymen--many of whom have had great practice, both at home and abroad, in almost every latitude--have declared that no difference whatever is

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observable. That in charging and pointing their guns, no, difference in the working is ever required, notwithstanding that the firing is at every point of the compass. Gunners in war ships have noticed a considerable difference in the results of their firing from guns at the bow, when sailing rapidly towards the object fired at, and when firing from guns placed at the stern while sailing away from the object: and in both cases the results are different to those observed when firing from a ship at perfect rest. These details of practical experience are utterly incompatible with the supposition of a revolving earth.

During the period of the Crimean War, the subject of gunnery, in connection with the earth's rotation, was one which occupied the attention of many philosophers, as well as artillery officers and statesmen. About this time, Lord Palmerston, as Prime Minister, wrote the following letter to Lord Panmure, the Secretary for War:--

"December 20th, 1857.

"My dear Panmure.

"There is an investigation which it would be important and at the same time easy to make, and that is, whether the rotation of the earth on its axis has any effect on the curve of a cannon-ball in its flight. One should suppose that it has, and that while the cannon-ball is flying in the air, impelled by the gunpowder in a straight line from the cannon's mouth, the ball would not follow the rotation of the earth in the same manner which it would do if lying at rest on the earth's surface. If this be so, a ball fired in the meridional direction--that is to say, due south or due north--ought to deviate to the west of the object at which it was.

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aimed, because during the time of flight, that object will have gone to the east somewhat faster than the cannon-ball will have done. In like manner, a ball fired due east, ought to fly less far upon the earth's surface than a ball fired due west, the charges being equal, the elevation the same, and the atmosphere perfectly still. It must be remembered, however, that the ball, even after it has left the cannon's mouth, will retain the motion from west to east which it had before received by the rotation of the earth on whose surface it was; and it is possible, therefore, that, except at very long ranges, the deviations above mentioned may in practice turn out to be very small, and not deserving the attention of an artilleryman. The trial might be easily made in any place in which a free circle of a mile or more radius could be obtained; and a cannon placed in the centre of that circle, and fired alternately north, south, east, and west, with equal charges, would afford the means of ascertaining whether each shot flew the same distance or not.

"Yours sincerely,

"PALMERSTON."

The above letter was published, by Lord Dalhousie's permission, in the "Proceedings of the Royal Artillery Institution for 1867."

It will be observed that Lord Palmerston thought that firing eastwards, or in the direction of the earth's supposed rotation, the ball would "fly less far upon the earth's surface than a ball fired due west." It is evident that his Lordship did not allow for the extra impulse given to the ball by the earth's motion. But the answer given by the advocates of the theory of the earth's motion is the following: Admitting that a ball fired from the

p. 72

earth at rest would go, say two miles, the same ball, fired from the earth in motion, would go, say three miles; but during the time the ball is passing through the air, the earth will advance one mile in the same direction. This one mile deducted from the three miles which the ball actually passes through the air, leaves the two miles which the ball has passed in advance of the cannon; so that practically the distance to which a ball is projected is precisely the same upon a moving earth as it is upon the earth at rest. The following diagram, fig. 50, will illustrate the path of a ball under the conditions above described.

FIG. 50. FIG. 50.

Let the curved line A, B, represent the distance a ball would fly from a cannon placed at A, upon the earth, at rest. Let A, C, represent the distance the same ball would fly from the conjoint action of the powder in the cannon, A, and the earth's rotation in the direction A, C. During the time the ball would require to traverse the line A, C, the earth and the cannon would arrive at the point D; hence the distance D, C, would be the same as the distance A, B.

The above explanation is very ingenious, and would be perfectly satisfactory if other considerations were not involved in it. For instance, the above explanation does not prove the earth's motion--it merely supposes it; but

p. 73

as in all other cases where the result of supposition is explained, it creates a dilemma. It demands that during the time the ball is in the air, the cannon is advancing in the direction of the supposed motion of the earth. But -this is granting the conditions required in the experiments represented by figs. 47, 48, and 49. If the cannon can advance in the one case, it must in the other; and as the result in the experiment represented at fig. 49, was that the ball, when fired vertically, essentially returned to the vertical cannon; that cannon could not have advanced, and therefore the earth could not have moved. EXPERIMENT 4.

Take a large grinding stone, and let the whole surface of the rim be well rubbed over with a saturated solution of phosphorus in olive oil; or cover the stone with several folds of coarse woollen cloth or flannel, which saturate with boiling water. If it be now turned rapidly round, by means of a multiplying wheel, the phosphoric vapour, or the steam from the flannel, which surrounds it and which may be called its atmosphere--analogous to the atmosphere of the earth--will be seen to follow the direction of the revolving surface. Now the surface of the earth is very irregular in its outline, mountains rising several miles above the sea, and ranging for hundreds of miles in every possible direction; rocks, capes, cliffs, gorges, defiles, caverns, immense forests, and every other form of ruggedness and irregularity calculated to adhere to and drag along whatever medium may exist upon it: and if it is a globe revolving on its axis, with

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the immense velocity at the equator of more than a thousand miles an hour, it is exceedingly difficult if not altogether impossible to conceive of such a mass moving at such a rate, and yet not taking the atmosphere along with it. When it is considered, too, that the medium which it is said surrounds the earth and all the heavenly bodies, and filling all the vast spaces between them, is almost too ethereal and subtle to offer any sensible resistance, it is still more difficult to understand how the atmosphere can be prevented being carried forward with the earth's rapidly revolving surface. Study the details of pneumatics or hydraulics as we may, we cannot suggest an experiment which will show the possibility of such a thing. Hence we are compelled to conclude that if the earth revolves, the atmosphere revolves also, and in the same direction. If the atmosphere rushes forward from west to east continually, we are again obliged to conclude that whatever floats or is suspended in it, at any altitude, must of necessity partake of its eastward motion. A piece of cork, or any other body floating in still water, will be motionless, but let the water be put in motion, in any direction whatever, and the floating bodies will move with it, in the same direction and with the same velocity. Let the experiment be tried in every possible way, and these results will invariable follow. Hence if the earth's atmosphere is in constant motion from west to east, all the different strata which are known to exist in it, and all the various kinds of clouds and vapours which float in it must of mechanical necessity move rapidly eastwards. But what is the fact? If we fix upon any star as a standard or datum outside the visible atmosphere, we may sometimes observe a stratum of clouds going for hours together in a direction the very opposite to that in which the earth is supposed to be moving. See fig. 51, which represents a section of a

p. 75

Fig. 51. Click to enlarge Fig. 51.

globe, surrounded with an atmosphere, moving at the rate of 1042 miles an hour at the equator, and in the direction of the arrows 1, 2, 3, while a stream of clouds are moving in the opposite direction, as indicated by the arrows, 4, 5, 6. Not only may a stratum of clouds be seen moving rapidly from east to west, but at the same moment other strata may often be seen moving from north to south, and from south to north. It is a fact well known to aeronauts, that several strata of atmospheric air are often moving in as many different directions at the same time. It is a knowledge of this fact which leads an experienced aeronaut, when desiring to rise in a balloon, and to go in a certain direction, not to regard the manner in which the wind is blowing on the immediate surface of the earth, because he knows that at a greater altitude, it may be going at right angles, or even in opposite and in various ways simultaneously. To ascertain whether and at what altitude a current is blowing in the desired direction, small, and so-called "pilot-balloons" are often sent up and carefully observed in their ascent. If during the passage of one of these through the variously moving

p. 76

strata, it is seen to enter a current which is going in the direction desired by the aëronaut, the large balloon is then ballasted in such a manner that it may ascend at once to the altitude of such current, and thus to proceed on its journey.

On almost any moonlight and cloudy night, different strata may be seen not only moving in different directions but, at the same time, moving with different velocities; some floating past the face of the moon rapidly and uniformly, and others passing gently along, sometimes becoming stationary, then starting fitfully into motion, and often standing still for minutes together. Some of those who have ascended in balloons for scientific purposes have recorded that as they have rapidly passed through the atmosphere, they have gone though strata differing in temperature, in density, and in hygrometric, magnetic, electric, and other conditions. These changes have been noticed both in ascending and descending, and in going for miles together at the same altitude.

"On the 27th November, 1839, the sky being very clear, the planet Venus was seen near the zenith, notwithstanding the brightness of the meridian sun. It enabled us to observe the higher stratum of clouds to be moving in an exactly opposite direction to that of the wind--a circumstance which is frequently recorded in our meteorological journal both in the north-east and south-east trades, and has also often been observed by former voyagers. Captain Basil Hall witnessed it from the summit of the Peak of Teneriffe; and Count Strzelechi, on ascending the volcanic mountain of Kiranea, in Owhyhee, reached at 4000 feet an elevation above that of the trade wind, and experienced the influence of an opposite current of air of a

p. 77

different hygrometric and thermometric condition. . . . Count Strzelechi further informed me of the following seemingly anomalous circumstance--that at the height of 6000 feet he found the current of air blowing at right angles to both the lower strata, also of a different hygrometric and thermometric condition, but warmer than the inter-stratum." 1

Such a state of the atmosphere is compatible only with the fact which other evidence has demonstrated, that the earth is at rest. Were it otherwise-if a spherical mass of eight thousand miles in diameter, with an atmosphere of only fifty miles in depth, or relatively only as a sheet of note paper pasted upon a globe of one yard in diameter, and lying upon a rugged, adhesive, rapidly revolving surface, there is nothing to prevent such an atmosphere becoming a mingled homogeneous mass of vapour.

Notwithstanding that all practical experience, and all specially instituted experiments are against the possibility of a moving earth, and an independent moving and non-moving atmosphere, many mathematicians have endeavoured to "demonstrate" that with regard to this earth, such was actually the case. The celebrated philosophic divine, Bishop Wilkins, was reasoned by the theorists of his day into this belief; and, in consequence, very naturally suggested a new and easy way of travelling. He proposed that large balloons should be provided with apparatus to work against the varying currents of the air. On ascending to a proper altitude, the balloon was to be kept practically in a state of rest, while the earth revolved underneath it; and when the desired locality came into view, to stop the working of

p. 78

the fans, &c., to let out the gas, and drop down at once to the earth's surface. In this simple way New York would be reached in a few hours, or rather New York would reach the balloon, at the rate, in the latitude of England, of more than 600 miles an hour.

The argument involved in the preceding remarks against the earth's rotation has often been met by the following, at first sight, plausible statement. A ship with a number of passengers going rapidly in one continued direction, like the earth's atmosphere, could nevertheless have upon its deck a number of distinctly and variously moving objects, like the clouds in the atmosphere. The clouds in the atmosphere are compared to the passengers on the deck of a ship; so far the cases are sufficiently parallel, but the passengers are sentient beings, having within themselves the power of distinct and independent motions: the clouds are the reverse; and here the parallelism fails. One case is not illustrative of the other, and the supposition of rotation in the earth remains without a single fact or argument in its favour. Birds in the air, or fish and reptiles in the water, would have offered a parallel and illustrative case, but these, like the passengers on the ship's deck, are sentient and independent beings; clouds and vapours are dependent and non-sentient, and must therefore of necessity move with, and in the direction of, the medium in which they float.

Everything actually observable in Nature; every argument furnished by experiment; every legitimate process of reasoning; and, as it would seem, everything which it is possible for the human mind practically to conceive, combine

p. 79

in evidence against the doctrine of the earth's motion upon axes.

ORBITAL MOTION.--The preceding experiments and remarks, logically and mathematically suffice as evidence against the assumed motion of the earth in an orbit round the sun. It is difficult, if not impossible, to understand how the behaviour of the ball thrown from a vertical gun should be other in relation to the earth's forward motion in space, than it is in regard to its motion upon axes. Besides, it is demonstrable that it does not move upon axes, and therefore, the assumption that it moves in an orbit, is utterly useless for theoretical purposes. The explanation of phenomena, for which the theory of orbital and diurnal motion was framed, is no longer possible with a globular world rushing through space in a vast elliptical orbit, but without diurnal rotation. Hence the earth's supposed orbital motion is logically void, and non-available, and there is really no necessity for either formally denying it, or in any way giving it further consideration. But that no point may be taken without direct and practical evidence, let the following experiment be tried.

Take two carefully-bored metallic tubes, not less than six feet in length, and place them one yard asunder, on the opposite sides of a wooden frame, or a solid block of wood or stone: so adjust them that their centres or axes of vision shall be perfectly parallel to each other. The following diagram will show the arrangement.

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Fig. 52. Fig. 52.

Now, direct them to the plane of some notable fixed star, a few seconds previous to its meridian time. Let an observer be stationed at each tube, as at A, B; and the moment the star appears in the tube A, T, let a loud knock or other signal be given, to be repeated by the observer at the tube B, T, when he first sees the same star. A distinct period of time will elapse between the signals given. The signals will follow each other in very rapid succession, but still, the time between is sufficient to show that the same star, S, is not visible at the same moment by two parallel lines of sight A, S, and B, C, when only one yard asunder. A slight inclination of the tube, B, C, towards the first tube A, S, would be required for the star, S, to be seen through both tubes at the same instant. Let the tubes remain in their position for six months; at the end of which time the same observation or experiment will produce the same results--the star, S, will be visible at the same meridian time, without the slightest alteration being required in the direction of the tubes: from which it is concluded that if the earth had moved one single yard in an orbit through space, there would at least be observed the slight inclination of the tube, B, C, which the difference in position of one yard had previously required.

p. 81

[paragraph continues] But as no such difference in the direction of the tube B, C, is required, the conclusion is unavoidable, that in six months a given meridian upon the earth's surface does not move a single yard, and therefore, that the earth has not the slightest degree of orbital motion.

Copernicus required, in his theory of terrestrial motions, that the earth moved in an extensive elliptical path round the sun, as represented in the following diagram, fig 53, where S is the

Fig. 53. Click to enlarge Fig. 53.

sun, A, the earth in its place in June, and B, its position in December; when desired to offer some proof of this orbital motion he suggested that a given star should be selected for observation on a given date; and in six months afterwards a second observation of the same star should be made. The first observation A, D, fig. 53, was recorded; and on observing again at the end of six months, when the earth was supposed to have passed to B, the other side of its orbit, to the astonishment of the assembled astronomers, the star was observed in exactly the

p. 82

same position, B, C, as it had been six months previously! It was expected that it would be seen in the direction B, D, and that this difference in the direction of observation would demonstrate the earth's motion from A to B, and also furnish, with the distance A, S, B, the elements necessary for calculating the actual distance of the star D.

The above experiment has many times been tried, and always with the same general result. No difference whatever has been observed in the direction of the lines of sight A, D, and B, C, whereas every known principle of optics and geometry would require, that if the earth had really moved from A to B, the fixed star D, should be seen in the direction B, D. The advocates of this hypothesis of orbital motion, instead of being satisfied, from the failure to detect a difference in the angle of observation, that the earth could not possibly have changed its position in the six months, were so regardless of all logical consistency, that instead of admitting, and accepting the consequences, they, or some of them, most unworthily declared that they could not yield up the theory, on account of its apparent value in explaining certain phenomena, but demanded that the star D, was so vastly distant, that, notwithstanding that the earth must have moved from A to B, this great change of position would not give a readable difference in the angle of observation at B, or in other words the amount of parallax (" annual parallax," it was called) was inappreciable!

Since the period of the above experiments, many have declared that a very small amount of "annual parallax" has been detected. But the proportion given by different observers has been so various, that nothing definite and satisfactory can yet be decided upon. Tycho Brahe, Kepler, and others, rejected the Copernican theory, principally

p. 83

eon account of the failure to detect displacement or parallax of the fixed stars. Dr. Bradley declared that what many had called "parallax," was merely "aberration." But "Dr. Brinkley, in 1810, from his observations with a very fine circle in the Royal Observatory of Dublin, thought he had detected a parallax of 1″ in the bright star Lyra (corresponding to an annual displacement of 2″). This, however, proved to be illusory; and it was not till the year 1839, that Mr. Henderson, having returned from filling the situation of astronomer royal to the Cape of Good Hope, and discussing as series of observations made there with a large "mural circle," of the bright star, α Centauri, was enabled to announce as a positive fact the existence of a measurable parallax for that star, a result since fully confirmed with a very trifling correction by the observations of his successor, Sir T. Maclear. The parallax thus assigned α Centauri, is so very nearly a whole second in amount (0″.98), that we may speak of it as such. It corresponds to a distance from the sun of 18,918,000,000,000 British statute miles.

"Professor Bessel made the parallax of a star in the constellation Cygnus to be 0″.35. Later astronomers, going over the same ground, with more perfect instruments, and improved practice in this very delicate process 'of observation, have found a somewhat larger result, stated by one at 0″.57, and by another at 0″.51, so that we may take it at 0″.54, corresponding to somewhat less than twice the distance of a Centauri;" 1 or to nearly 38 billions of miles.

It might seem to a non-scientific mind that the differences

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above referred to of only a few fractions of a second in the parallax of a star, constitute a very slight amount; but in reality such differences involve differences in the distance of such stars of millions of miles, as will be seen by the following quotation from the Edinburgh Review for June, 1850:--

"The rod used in measuring a base line is commonly ten feet long; and the astronomer may be said only to apply this very rod to measure the distance of the fixed stars! An error in, placing a fine dot, which fixes the length of the rod, amounting to one five-thousandth part of an inch, will amount to an excess, of 70 feet in the earth's diameter; of 316 miles in the sun's distance, and to 65,200,000 miles in that of the nearest fixed star!

"The second point to which we would advert is, that as the astronomer in his observatory has nothing to do with ascertaining length as distances, except by calculation, his whole skill and artifice are exhausted in the measurement of angles. For it is by these alone that spaces inaccessible can be compared. Happily a ray of light is straight. Were it not so (in celestial spaces at least) there were an end of our astronomy. It is as inflexible as adamant, which our instruments unfortunately are not. Now an angle of a second (3600 to a degree), is a subtle thing, it is an apparent breadth, utterly invisible to the unassisted eye, unless accompanied by so intense a splendour (as in the case of the fixed stars) as actually to raise by its effect on the nerve of sight a spurious image, having a sensible breadth. A silkworm's fibre subtends an angle of one second at 3½ feet distance. A ball 2½ inches in diameter must be removed in order to subtend an angle of one second, to 43,000 feet, or about 8 miles; while it would be utterly invisible to the sharpest sight aided even by a telescope of some power. Yet it is on the

p. 85

measurement of one single second that the ascertainment of a sensible parallax in any fixed star depends; and an error of one-thousandth of that amount (a quantity still immeasurable by the most perfect of our instruments) would place a fixed star too far or too near by 200,000,000,000 of miles."

Sir John Herschel says:--

"The observations require to be made with the very best instruments, with the minutest attention to everything which can affect their precision, and with the most rigorous application of an innumerable host of 'corrections,' some large, some small, but of which the smallest, neglected or erroneously applied, would be quite sufficient to overlay and conceal from view the minute quantity we are in search of. To give some idea of the delicacies which have to be attended to in this inquiry, it will suffice to mention that the stability not only of the instruments used and the masonry which supports them, but of the very rock itself on which it is founded, is found to be subject to annual fluctuations capable of seriously affecting the result."

Dr. Lardner, in his "Museum of Science," page 179, makes use of the following words

"Nothing in the whole range of astronomical research has more baffled the efforts of observers than this question of the parallax. * * * Now, since, in the determination of the exact uranographical position of a star, there are a multitude of disturbing effects to be taken into account and eliminated, such as precession, nutation, aberration, refraction, and others, besides the proper motion of the star; and since, besides the errors of observation, the quantities of these are subject to more or less uncertainty, it will astonish no one to be told that they may en-tail upon the final result of the calculation, an error of 1″; and

p. 86

if they do, it is vain to expect to discover such a residual phenomenon as parallax, the entire amount of which is less than one second."

The complication, uncertainty, and unsatisfactory state of the question of annual parallax, and therefore of the earth's motion in an orbit round the sun, as indicated by the several paragraphs above quoted, are at once and for ever annihilated by the simple fact, experimentally demonstrable, that upon a base line of only a single yard, there may be found a parallax, as certain and as great, if not greater, than that which astronomers pretend to find with the diameter of the earth's supposed orbit of many millions of miles as a base line. To place the whole matter, complicated, uncertain, and unsatisfactory as it is, in a concentrated form, it is only necessary to state as an absolute truth the result of actual experiment, that, a given fixed star will, when observed from the two ends of a base line of not more than three feet, give a parallax equal to that which it is said is observed only from the two extremities of the earth's orbit, a distance or base line, of one hundred and eighty millions of miles! So far, then, from the earth having passed in six months over the vast space of nearly two hundred millions of miles, the combined observations of all the astronomers of the whole civilized world have only resulted in the discovery of such elements, or such an amount of annual parallax, or sidereal displacement, as an actual change of position of a few feet will produce. It is useless to say, in explanation, that this very minute displacement, is owing to the almost infinite distance of

p. 87

the fixed stars; because the very same stars show an equal degree of parallax from a very minute base line; and, secondly, it will be proved from practical data, in a subsequent chapter, that all the luminaries in the firmament are only a few thousand miles from the surface of the earth.


Footnotes

69:1 The barrel containing a spiral spring, so that the projecting force will always be the same, which might not be so with gunpowder.

77:1 "South Sea Voyages," p. 14, vol. i. By Sir James Clarke Ross, R.N.

83:1 Sir John F. W. Herschel, Bart., in "Good Words."

The True Form and Magnitude of the Earth[edit]

THE facts and experiments already advanced render it undeniable, that the surface of all the waters of the earth is horizontal; and that, however irregular the upper outline of the land itself may be, the whole mass, land and water together, constitutes an IMMENSE NON-MOVING CIRCULAR PLANE.

If we travel by land or sea, from any part of the earth in the direction of any meridian line, and towards the northern central star called "Polaris," we come to one and the same place, a region of ice, where the star which has been our guide is directly above us, or vertical to our position. This region is really THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH; and recent observations seem to prove that it is a vast central tidal sea, nearly a thousand miles in diameter, and surrounded by a great wall or barrier of ice, eighty to a hundred miles in breadth. If from this central region we trace the outline of the lands which project or radiate from it, and the surface of which is above the water, we find that the present form of the earth or "dry land," as distinguished from the waters of the "great deep," is an

p. 89

irregular mass of capes, bays, and islands, terminating in great bluffs or headlands, projecting principally towards the south, or, at least, in a direction away from the great northern centre.

If now we sail with our backs continually to this central star, "Polaris," or the centre of the earth's surface, we shall arrive at another region of ice. Upon whatever meridian we sail, keeping the northern centre behind us, we are checked in our progress by vast and lofty cliffs of ice. If we turn to the right or to the left of our meridian, these icy barriers beset us during the whole of our passage. Hence, we have found that there is a great ebbing and flowing sea at the earth's centre; with a boundary wall of ice, nearly a hundred miles in thickness, and three thousand miles in circumference; that springing or projecting from this icy wall, irregular masses of land stretch out towards the south, where a desolate waste of turbulent waters surrounds the continents, and is itself engirdled by vast belts and packs of ice, bounded by immense frozen barriers, the lateral depth and extent of which are utterly unknown.

    "The storm rampant of nature's sanctuary;

The insuperable boundary raised to guard Her mysteries from the eye of man profane."

The earth's surface is represented by the diagram, fig. 54, and a sectional view in fig. 55. N, the central open sea, I, I, the circular wall or barrier of ice, L, L, L, the masses of land tending southwards, W, W, W, the "waters of the great deep," surrounding the land, S, S, S, the southern boundary of ice, and D, D, D, the outer gloom and darkness, in which the material world is lost to human perception.

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DIAGRAM OF EARTH'S SURFACE.
FIG. 54. Click to enlarge DIAGRAM OF EARTH'S SURFACE. FIG. 54.

SECTIONAL VIEW OF EARTH'S SURFACE.
FIG. 55. Click to enlarge SECTIONAL VIEW OF EARTH'S SURFACE. FIG. 55.


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How far the ice extends; how it terminates; and what exists beyond it, are questions to which no present human experience can reply. All we at present know is, that snow and hail, howling winds, and indescribable storms and hurricanes prevail; and that in every direction "human ingress is barred by unsealed escarpments of perpetual ice," extending farther than eye or telescope can penetrate, and becoming lost in gloom and darkness.

The superficial extent or magnitude of the earth from the northern centre to the southern circumference, can only be stated approximately. For this purpose the following evidence will suffice. In laying the Atlantic Cable from the Great Eastern steamship, in 1866, the distance from Valencia, on the south-western coast of Ireland, to Trinity Bay in Newfoundland, was found to be 1665 miles. The. longitude of Valencia is 10° 30´ W.; and of Trinity Bay 53° 30´ W. The difference of longitude between the two places being 43°, and the whole distance round the earth being divided into 360°. Hence if 43° are found to be 1665 nautical, or 1942 statute miles, 360° will be 13,939 nautical, or 16,262 statute miles; then taking the proportion of radius to circumference, we have 2200 nautical, or 2556 statute miles as the actual distance from Valencia, in Ireland, to the polar centre of the earth's surface.

Another and a very beautiful and accurate way of ascertaining the earth's circumference is the following:--

The difference of longitude between Heart's Content Station, Newfoundland, and that at Valencia or, in other words, between the extreme points of the Atlantic) Cable--has been ascertained

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by Mr. Gould, coast surveyor to the United States Government, to be 2 hours, 51 minutes, 56.5 seconds." 1

The sun passes over the earth and returns to the same point in 24 hours. If in 2 hours, 51 minutes, and 56.5 seconds, it passes from the meridian of the Valencia end of the cable to that of its termination at Heart's Content, a distance of 1942 statute miles, how far will it travel in 24 hours? On making the calculation the answer is, 16,265 statute miles. This result is only three miles greater distance than that obtained by the first process.

Again in the Boston Post, for Oct. 30th, 1856, Lieut. Maury gives the following as the correct distances, in geographical miles, across the Atlantic by the various routes (circle sailing).



Nautical Miles.



Statute Miles.

Philadelphia to Liverpool


3000


=


3500

New York "


2880


=


3360

Boston "


2720


=


3173

New York to Southampton


2980


=


3476

    "      to Glasgow


2800


=


3266

Boston to Galway


2520


=


2940

Newfoundland to Galway


1730


=


2018

Boston to Belfast


2620


=


3056

If we take the distance (given in the above table) between Liverpool and New York as 3360 statute miles, and calculate as in the last case, we find a nearly similar result, making allowance for the detour round the south or north of Ireland.

"The difference of time between London and New York

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which the use of the electric cable makes a matter of some consequence, has latterly been ascertained afresh. It is 4 hours, 55 minutes, 18.95 seconds." 1

The results of these several methods are so nearly alike that the distance 16,262 statute miles may safely be taken as the approximate circumference of the earth at the latitude of Valencia.

If the distance from Valencia to the Cape of Good Hope, or to Cape Horn, had ever been actually measured, not calculated, the circumference of the earth at these points could, of course, be readily ascertained. We cannot admit as evidence the calculated length of a degree of latitude, because this is an amount connected with the theory of the earth's rotundity; which has been proved to be false. We must therefore take known distances between places far south of Valencia, where latitude and longitude have also been carefully observed. In the Australian Almanack for 1871, page 126 2, the distance from Auckland (New Zealand), to Sydney, is given as 1315 miles, nautical measure, which is equal to 1534 statute miles. At page 118 of the Australian Almanack for 1859, Captain Stokes, H.M.S. Acheron, communicates the latitude of Auckland as 36° 50´ 05″, S., and longitude 174° 50´ 40″, E.; latitude of Sydney, 33° 51´ 45″, S., and longitude 151° 16´ 15″, E. The difference in longitude, or time distance, is 23° 34´ 25″, calculating as in the case of Valencia to Newfoundland,

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we find that as 23° 34´ 25″ represents 1534 statute miles, 360° will give 23,400 statute miles as the circumference of the earth at the latitude of Sydney, Auckland, and the Cape of Good Hope. Hence the radius or distance from the centre of the north to the above places is, in round numbers, 3720 statute miles. Calculating in the same way, we find that from Sydney to the Cape of Good Hope is fully 8600 statute miles.

The above calculations receive marked corroboration from the practical experience of mariners. The author has many times been told by captains of vessels navigating the southern region, that from Cape Town to Port Jackson in Australia, the distance is not less than 9000 miles; and from Port Jackson to Cape Horn, 9500 miles; but as many are not willing to give credit to such statements, the following quotation will be useful, and will constitute sufficient evidence of the truth of the foregoing calculations:--

"The Great Britain steamer has arrived, having made one of the best voyages homeward that has yet been effected, viz., 86 days; 72 only of which were employed in steaming; and the remaining 14 days being accounted for by detentions. She left Melbourne on January 6th, and arrived in Simon's Bay on February 10th, or 35 days. She then went round to Cape Town, whence she sailed on the 20th of February; and was afterwards detained for four days at St. Michael's and Vigo. The distance she steamed per log was 14,688 miles; which for the 72 days, gives an average of 204 miles a day." 1

p. 95

If we multiply the average rate of sailing by the thirty-five days occupied in running between Melbourne and St. Simon's Bay (near Cape of Good Hope), we find that the distance is 7140 nautical miles, From Melbourne to Sydney is 6 degrees of longitude further east, or about S40 nautical miles. Hence 7140 added to 340 give 7480 nautical miles, equal to 8726 statute miles; which is 126 miles in excess of the distance given at p. 94.

The following extract furnishes additional evidence upon this important point:--

"EXTRAORDINARY VOYAGE.--Every yachtsman (says the Dublin Express), will share in the pride with which, a correspondent relates a brilliant, and, we believe, unexampled exploit which has just been performed by a small yacht of only 25 tons, which is not a stranger to the waters of Dublin Bay. The gallant little craft set out from Liverpool for the antipodes, and arrived safely in Sydney after a splendid run, performing the entire distance, 16,000 miles, in 130 days. Such an achievement affords grounds for reasonable exultation, not more as a proof of the nautical skill of our amateurs, than of their adventurous spirit, which quite casts in the shade the most daring feats of Alpine climbers." 1

A s the distance from Melbourne to Cape of Good Hope is 7140 nautical miles, as shown by the log of the Great Britain, and as the whole distance from Melbourne to Liverpool was 14,688 nautical miles, it follows that, deducting 7140 from 14,688, that the passage from the Cape of Good Hope to Liverpool was 7548 nautical miles. If we take this distance from the 16,000 miles, which the

p. 96

above mentioned yacht sailed to Sydney, we have as the distance between Cape of Good Hope and Sydney, 8452 nautical, or 9860 statute miles.

In a letter from Adelaide which appeared in the Leeds Mercury for April 20th, 1867, speaking of certain commercial difficulties which had existed there, the following incidental passage occurs:--

"Just as our harvest was being concluded, the first news arrived of anticipated dearth of breadstuffs at home. The times. were so hopelessly dull, money was so scarce, and the operation of shipping wheat a distance of 14,000 miles so dangerous, that for a long time the news had no practical effect."

From England to Adelaide is here stated as 14,000 nautical, or 16,333 statute miles; and as the difference of longitude between Adelaide and Sydney is 23 degrees, equal to 1534 statute miles, we find that from England to Sydney the distance is 17,867 statute miles. Taking from this the 7548 nautical, or 8806 statute miles, we have again 9061 statute miles as the distance between the Cape of Good Hope and Sydney.

From the preceding facts it is evident that the circumference of the earth, at the distance of the Cape of Good Hope from the polar centre, is not less in round numbers than 23,400 miles. Hence the radius or distance in a direct line from the polar centre to Cape Town, to Sydney, to Auckland in New Zealand, and to all the places on the same arc, is about 3720 statute miles. And as the distance from the polar centre to Valencia in Ireland is shown to be 2556 statute miles, the direct distance from Valencia to Cape Town is 1164.

p. 97

statute miles. Should it ever be shown by actual direct measurement to be more than this distance, then the distance from Cape Town to Sydney must be more than 8600 statute miles. It is a subject which must be kept open for rectification. What has already been given in the foregoing pages may be considered as the approximate minimum distances.

Having seen that the diameter of the earth's surface--taking the distance from Auckland in New Zealand, to Sydney, and thence to the Cape of Good Hope, as a datum arc--is 7440 statute miles; we may inquire how far it is from any of the above places to the great belt of ice which surrounds the southern oceans. Although large ice islands and icebergs are often met with a few degrees beyond Cape Horn, what may be called the solid immovable ramparts of ice seem to be as far south as 78 degrees. In a paper read by Mr. Locke before the Royal Dublin Society, on Friday evening, November 19th, 1860, and printed in the Journal of that Society, a map is given representing Antarctic discoveries, on which is traced a "proposed exploration route," by Captain Maury, U.S.N.; and in the third paragraph it is said: "I request attention to the diagram No. 1, representing an approximate tracing of the supposed Antarctic continent, and showing the steamer track, about twelve days from Port Philip, the chief naval station of the Austral seas, to some available landing point, bight, or ravine, under shadow of the precipitous coast." The steamer track is given on this map as a dotted line, curving eastwards from 150 degrees to 180 degrees longitude, and from Port Philip to 78 degrees

p. 98

south latitude. If we take the chord of such an arc, we shall find that the direct distance from Port Philip to 78 degrees south would be about nine days' sail, or ten days from Sydney. No ordinary steamer would sail in such latitudes more than 150 statute miles a day; hence, ten times 150 would be 1500 miles; which added to the previously ascertained radius at Sydney, would make the total radius of the earth, from the northern centre to the farthest known southern circumference, to be 5224 statute miles. Thus from purely practical data, setting all theories aside, it is ascertained that the diameter of the earth, from the Ross Mountains, or from the volcanic mountains of which Mount Erebus is the chief, to the same radius distance on the opposite side of the northern centre, is more than 10,400 miles; and the circumference, 52,800 statute miles.


Footnotes

92:1 Liverpool Mercury, January 8th, 1867.

93:1 Liverpool Mercury, June 3rd, 1867.

93:2 Published by Gordon and Gotch, 121, Holborn Hill, London; and 281, George Street, Sydney, and 85, Collins Street West, Melbourne, New South Wales.

94:1 Australian and New Zealand Gazette, for April 9th, 1853. Published by A. E. Murray, Green Arbour Court, Old Bailey, London. A copy may be seen in the Liverpool Free Library, in "No. 10 Section."

95:1 Cheltenham Examiner (Supplement), for November 29th, 1865.

The True Distance of the Sun[edit]

The Sun's Motion, Concentric With the Polar Centre[edit]

The Sun's Path Expands and Contracts Daily for Six Months Alternately[edit]

Cause of Day and Night, Winter and Summer; and the Long Alternations of Light and Darkness at the Northern Centre[edit]

Cause Of Sunrise And Sunset.[edit]

Cause of Sun Appearing Larger When Rising and Setting Than at Noonday[edit]

Cause of Solar and Lunar Eclipses[edit]

The Cause of Tides[edit]

The Earth's True Position in the Universe; Comparatively Recent Formation; Present Chemical Condition; and Approaching Destruction by Fire[edit]

Examination of the So-Called Proofs of the Earth's Rotundity[edit]

General Summary--Application--Cui Bono[edit]

''Parallax'' and his Teachings: Opinions of the Press General Index List of Works, Newspapers, Periodicals, Published Correspondence, and Scripture Texts Referred to or Quoted From