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their colours from all the tints of yellow to pearance as if a vast tent was expanded in the most obscure russet. They often cover the heavens, glittering with gold, rubies, the whole hemisphere, and then exhibit the and sapphire. A more beautifal spectacle most brilliant appearance. Their motions cannot be painted; but whoever should see at this time are most amazingly quick ; and such a northern light for the tirst time, could they astonish the spectator with the rapid not behold it without terroar. For how. change of their form. They break out in ever fine the illumination may be, it is atplaces where none were seen before, skim- tended, as I have learned from the relation ming briskly along the heavens, are sud of many persons, with such a hissing, crackdenly extinguished, and are succeeded by ing, and rushing noise through the air, as if an uniform dusky tract. This again is bril the largest fire-works were playing off. To liantly illuminated iu the same manner, and describe what they then hear, they make as suddenly left a dark space. In some use of the expression spolochi chodjat,' nights, they assume the appearance of large that is, “the raging host is passing.' The columns, on one side of the deepest yellow, hunters, who pursue the white and blue and on the other, gradually changing till it foxes in the confines of the Jey sea, are becomes undistinguished from the sky. often overtaken in their course by these They have geuerally a strong tremuloas mo northern lights. Their dogs are then so tion from one end to the other, and this much frightened, that they will not move, continues till the whole vanishes. As for but lie obstinately on the ground, till the us, who see only the extremities of these
noise has passed. Commonly, clear and northern phenomena, we can have but a calm weather follows this kind of northern faint idea of their splendour, and motions. lights. I have heard this account, not from According to the state of the atmosphere,
one person only, but confirmed by the unithey differ in colour; and sometimes as form testimony of many, who have spent suming the colour of blood, they make a part of several years in these very northern dreadtul appearance. The rustic sages who regions, and inhabited different countries observe them, become prophetic, and ter from the Yenisei to the Lena; so that no rify the spectators with alarms of war, pes- doubt of its truth can remain. This seems tilence, and famine : nor, indeed, were indeed to be the real birth place of the authese superstitious presages peculiar to the rora borealis.” northern islands : appearances of a similar This account of the noises attending the nature are of ancient date; and they were aurora borealis, allowing for some degree of distinguished by the appellations of “phas- exaggeration, has been corroborated by mata," “ trabes,” and “bolides,” accord- other testimonies. A person, who resided ing to their forms and colours. In old times seven years at Hudson's Bay, contirms M. they were either more rare, or less fre. Gmelin's relation of the fine appearance quently noticed: but when they occurred, and brilliant colours of the northern lights, they were supposed to portend great and particularly of their rushing noise, which events, and the timid imagination formed he affirms he has frequently heard, and of them aerial conflicts.
compares it to the sound produced by whirlIn the northern latitudes of Sweden and ing round a stick swiftly at the end of a Lapland, the aurora borealis are not only string. A similar noise has also been heard singularly beautiful in their appearance, in Sweden. Mr. Naimne also, being in but afford travellers, by their almost con Northampton at a time when the northern stant effulgence, a very beautiful light dur- lights were remarkably bright, is confident ing the whole night. In Hudson's bay, the he perceived a hissing, or whizzing sound. aurora borealis diffuses a variegated splen- Mr. Belknap, of Dover, in New Hampdour, which is said to equal that of the full shire, North America, testifies to this fact. moon. In the north-eastern parts of Sibe- M. Cavallo says, that the crackling noise is ria, according to the description of Gmelin, distinctly audible, and that he has heard it these northern lights are observed to “ be more than once. Similar lights, called augin with single brighit pillars, rising in the roræ australes, have been long since obnorth, and almost at the same time in the served towards the south pole, and their north-east, which gradually increasing, com existence has been more lately ascertained prehend a large space of the heavens, rush by Mr. Forster, who assures us that in his about from place to place with incredible voyage round the world with Captain Cooke, velocity, and finally, almost cover the whole he observed them in high southern latitudes, sky up to the zenith, and produce an ap- though attended with plicnomena some.
what different from those which are seen many, no less than seven times in the space here. On February 17, 1773, in south la. of twelve months; and again at several
a beautiful phenomenon (he different times, in 1581. On September says) was observed during the preceding 2nd, 1621, the same phenomenon was seen night, which appeared again this and several over all France, and it was particularly following nights. It consisted of long co described by Gassendes, in his “ Physics," lumns of a clear white light, shooting up who gave it the name of “aurora borealis.” from the horizon to the eastward, almost Another was seen all over Germany in to the zenith, and gradually spreading on November 1623, and was described by the whole southern part of the sky. These Kepler. Since that time, for more than columns were sometimes bent sideways at eighty years, we have no account of any their upper extremities; and though in most such phenomenon, either at home or abroad. respects similar to the northern lights (au- In 1707, Mr. Neve observed one of small rora borealis) of our hemisphere, yet dif- continuance in Ireland; and in the same fered from them in being always of a whit- year, a similar appearance was seen by ish colonr, whereas ours assume various Romer, at Copenhagen; and during an intints, especially those of a fiery and purple terval of cighteen months, in the years 1707 hue. The sky was generally clear when and 1708, this sort of light had been seen they appeared, and the air sharp and cold, no less than five times. Hence it should the thermometer standing at the freezing seem, says Dr. Halley, that the air, or point."
earth, or both, are not at all times disposed The periods of the appearance of these to produce this phenomenon, though it is northern lights are very inconstant. In possible it may happen in the day time, in some years they occur very frequently, and bright moon shine, or in cloudy weather, in others they are more rare; and it has and so pass unobserved. Dr. Halley furbeen observed that they are more common ther observes, that the aurora borealis of about the time of the equinoxes than at 1716, which he described, was visible from other seasons of the year. Dr. Halley (see the west of Ireland to the confines of Russia, Philos. Trans. No. 347, p. 106,) has col. and to the east of Poland; extending at lected together several observations, which least near 30° of longitude, and from about form a kind of history of this phenomenon. the 50th degree of north latitude, over al. After having particularly described the va most all the north of Europe; and in all rious circumstances which attended that ob- places at the same time, it exhibited apserved by himself and many others in pearances similar to those which he ob. March, 1716, and which was singularly served at London. He regrets, however, brilliant, he proceeds with informing us, that he was unable to determine its height that the first account of similar phenomena for want of contemporary observations at recorded in the English annals, is that of different places. the appearance which was noticed January Father Boscovich has determined the 30, 1560), and called " burning spears,” by height of an aurora borealis, observed on the author of a book intitled “A Descrip- the 16th of December 1737, by the Martion of Meteors,” by W.F. D. D. reprinted quis of Poleni, to have been 825 miles ; and at London, in 1654. The next appeararice Mr. Bergman, from a mean of thirty comof a like kind, recorded by Stow, occurred putations, makes the average height of the on October 7, 1564. In 1574, as Camden aurora borealis to be 72 Swedish, or (supand Stow inform us, an aurora borealis was posing a Swedish mile to be about 64 En. seen for two successive nights, viz. 14th and glish miles) 468 English miles. Euler sup15th of Novenber, with appearances simi- poses the height to be several thousands of lar to those observed in 1716, and which miles; and Mairan also assigns to these are now cominonly noticed. The same phenomena a very elevated region, the far phenomenon was twice seen in Brabant, in greater pumber of them being, according 1575, viz. on the 13th of February and the to him, about 200 leagues above the sur28th of September; and the circumstances face of the carth. Dr. Blagden, speaking attending it were described by Cornelius of the height of some fiery meteors (Phil. Gemma, who compares them to spears, for- Trans. vol. Ixxiv. p. 227), says, that “the tified cities, and armies fighting in the air. aurora borealis appears to occupy as high, In the year 1580, M. Mastline observed if not a bigher region, above the surface of these plasmata, as he calls them, at Bak- the earth, as may be judged from the very pang, in the county of Wirtemberg, in Ger- distant countries to which it has been visi.
ble at the same time;" he adds, that “thie the octave is divided harmonically by the great accumulation of electric matter seems numbers 3, 4, 6, which makes the fourth a to lie beyond the verge of our atmosphere, flat, and the fifth a sharp. as estimated by the cessation of twilight.” AUTHORITY, in a general sense, sig, However the height of these meteors, none nifies a right to command, and make one's of which appear to have ascended so high self obeyed. as 100 miles, is trivial, compared with the AUTHORITY, in law, signifies a power elevations above ascribed to the aurora bo- given by word, or writing, to a second perrealis. But as it is difficult to make such son to act something, and may be by writ, observations on this phenomenon, as are warrant, commission, letter of attorney, sufficient to afford a just estimate of its alti- &c. and sometimes by law. An authority tude, they must be subject to considerable given to another, to do what a person him, variation, and to material error.
self cannot do is void ; and it must be for It is not improbable, that the highest doing a thing that is lawful, otherwise it regions of the aurora borealis are the same will be no good authority. with those in which fire-balls move; more Authority is represented in painting, like especially as Dr. Blagden informs us, that a grave matron sitting in a chair of state, instances are recorded, in which the nor- richly clothed in a garment embroidered thern lights have been seen to join, and with gold, holding in her right hand a form luminous balls, darting, about with sword, and in her left a sceptre. By her great velocity, and even leaving a train be- side is a double trophy of books and arms. hind like the common fire-balls. This in AUTOGRAPHUM, the very hand writ. genious author, however, conjecturing that ing of a person, or the original manuscript distinct regions are allotted to the electri- of a treatise or discourse. Autographa, or cal phenomena of our atmosphere, assigns original manuscripts of the New 'Testament, the appearance of tire-balls to that region are the copies written by the apostles, or which lies beyond the limits of our crepus- by amanuenses under their immediate cular atmosphere; and a greater elevation inspection. St. Paul seems generally to above the earth to that accumulation of have adopted the latter mode ; but to preelectricity in a lighter and less condensed vent the circulation of spurious epistles, he form, which produces the wonderfully di wrote the concluding benediction with his versified streams and coruscations of the own hand. The early loss of the autograaurora borealis.
pla of the New Testament affords matter AUSTRAL, something relating to the of surprise, when it is known that the orisouth : thus the six signs on the south side ginal manuscripts of Luther, and other emiof the equinoctial are called austral signs. nent men who lived at the time of the re
AUTER fois acquit, in law, a plea made formation are still subsisting. by a criminal that lie has been already ac AUTOMATUM, or AUTOMATON, an quitted of the same crime, with which he instrument, or rather machine ; which, by is charged. There are likewise pleas of means of springs, weights, &c. seems to auter fois convict and attaint, that he has move itself, as a watch, clock, &c. Such been before convicted of the same felony. also were Archytus's flying dove, Regio
AUTHENTIC, something of acknow montanus's wooden-eagle, &c. See ANledged and received authority. In law it
DROIDES. signifies something clothed in all its for AUTUMN, the third season of the year, malities, and attested by persons to whom when the harvest and fruits are gathered in. credit has been regularly given. Thus, we Hence, in the language of the Alchemists, say, authentic papers, authentic instru- it signifies the time when the philosophers' ments. In music, authentic is a term ap stone is brought to perfection. plied to four of the church modes or tones, Autumn is represented, in painting, by a which rise a fourth above their dominants, man at perfect age, clothed like the vernal, „which are always a fifth above their finals; and likewise girded with a starry girdle ; in this distinguished from the plegal modes, holding in one hand a pair of scales equally which fall a fourth below their finals. Thus poized, with a globe in each ; in the other, when an octave is divided arithmetically ac a bunch of divers fruits and grapes. His cording to the numbers 2, 3, 4, that is, age denotes the perfection of this season, when the fifth is fat, and the fourth sharp, and the balance, that sign of the zodiac the mode or tone is called authentic, in which the sun enters when our autumn contradistinction to the plegal tope, where begins.
AUTUMNAL signs, in astrononiy, are
rain, or wind. That part of the poop-deck the signs Libra, Scorpio, and Sagittarins, which is continued forward beyond the through which the sun passes during the bulk-head of the cabin, is also called the autumn.
awning. AUXILIARY verbs, in grammar, are AXETONE. See NEPHRITE. such as help to form or conjugate others; AXILLA, in anatomy, the arm-pit, or the that is, are prefixed to them, to form or de- cavity under the upper part of the arm. note the moods or tenses thereof. As to AXILLA, in botany, the space compre. have and to be, in the English ; estre et avoir hended betwixt the stems of plants and in the French; ho et sono in the Italian, &c. their leaves. In the English language, the auxillary verb
AXIOM, in philosophy, is such a plain, am, supplies the want of passive verbs. self-evident, and received notion, that it AUXILIARY, in military affairs : by this
cannot be made more plain and evident by term is understood foreigy or subsidiary demonstration ; because it is itself better troops, which are furnished to a belligerent known than any thing that can be brought power in consequence of a treaty of alli
to prove it: as, that nothing can act where ance,
or for pecuniary considerations. Of it is not ; that a thing cannot be, and not the latter description may be considered be, at the same time; that the whole is the Swiss soldiers, who formerly served in greater than a part thereof; and that from France, and the Hessians who were em
nothing, nothing can arise. By axioms, ployed by Great Britain, during a patt called also maxims, are understood all comof the American war, and on other occa mon notions of the mind, whose evidence is sions.
so clear and forcible, that a man cannot de. AUXILIUM curiæ, in law, a preceptor ny them, without renouncing common sense order of court, to cite, or convene one and natural reason. party at the suit of another.
The rule whereby to know an axiom, is AUXILIUM ad filium militem faciendum, this : whatever proposition expresses the tel filium maritandam, a precept or writ di- immediate clear comparison of two ideas, rected to the sheriff of every county wliere without the help of a third, is an axiom. the king or other lords had any tenants, to But if the truth does not appear from the levy of them reasonable aid, towards the immediate comparison of two ideas, it is no knighting his eldest son, or the marriage of axiom. his eldest daughter,
These sort of propositions, under the AWAIT, in law, way-laying, or laying. name of axioms, have, on account of their in-wait to execute some mischief. It is being self-evident, passed not only for prinenacted, that no charter of pardon shall be ciples of science, but have been supposed allowed before any justice, for the death of innate, and thought to be the foundation of a man slain by await or malice prepence. all our other knowledge ; though, in truth, 13 Rich. II.
they are no more than identic propositions : AWARD, in law, the judgment of an for to say that all right angles are equal to arbitrator, or of one who is not appointed each other, is no more than saying, that all by the law a judge, but chosen by the par- right angles are right angles, such equality ties themselves for terminating their differ- being implied in the very detinition. All See ARBITRATOR.
considerations of these maxims, therefore, AWL, or Aul, among shoemakers, an can add nothing to the evidence or cerinstrument wherewith holes are bored tainty of our knowledge of them: and how through the leather, to facilitate the stitch- little they influence the rest of our knowing or sewing the same. The blade of the ledge, how far they are from being the founawl is usually a little flat and bended, and dation of it, as well as of the truths first the point ground to an acute angle.
known to the mind, Mr. Locke, and some AWME, or AUME, a Dutch liquid mea others, have undeniably proved. According sure, containing eight steckans, or twenty to Bacon, it is impossible that axioms raised verges or verteels, equal to the tierce in by argumentation should be useful in disEngland, or to one-sixth of a ton of covering new works; because the subtilty France.
of nature far exceeds the subtilty of arguAWN. See ARISTA.
ments : but axioms, duly and methodically AWNING, in the sea-language, is the drawn from particulars, will again easily hanging a sail, tarpanling, or the like, over point our new particulars, and so render any part of the ship, to keep off the sun, the sciences active,
The axioms in use being derived from a cylinder, and moveable together with it slender experience, and a few obvious par about its axis. See MECHANICS. ticulars, are generally applied in a corres Axis, in optics, is that ray, among all ponding manner. No wonder, therefore, others that are sent to the eye, which falls they lead us to few particulars; and if any perpendicularly upon it, and which conseinstance, unobserved before, happen to quently passes through the centre of the turn up, the axiom is preserved by some eye. trifling distinction, where it ought rather to Axis of a glass or lens, is a right line joinbe corrected.
ing the middle points of the two opposite Axiom is also an established principle in surfaces of the glass. some art or science.
Axis of incidence, in dioptrics, is a right Thus it is an established axiom in phy. line perpendicular in the point of incidence, sics, that nature does nothing in vain ; so it to the refracting superficies, drawn in the is in geometry, that if to equal things you same medium that the ray of incidence add equals, the sums will be equal. It is an comes from. axiom in optics, that the angle of incidence Axis of refraction is a right line drawn is equal to the angle of reflection, &c. In thirongh the refracting medium, from the which sense too, the general laws of mo- point of refraction, perpendicular to the tion are called axioms : whence it may be refracting superficies. observed, that these particular axioms are AXYRIS, in botany, a genus of the Mo. but deductions from certain hypotheses. noecia Triandria class of plants, in the male
AXIS, in geometry, the straight line in a flowers of which the calyx is a perianthium plane figure, about which it revolves, to composed of four patent, obtuse leaves, diproduce or generate a solid : thus, if a semi- vided into three segments : there is no cocircle be moved round its diameter at rest, rolla: in the female flowers the calyx is comit will generate a sphere, the axis of which is posed of five obtuse, concave, connivent, that diameter.
and permanent leaves, with the two exAxis, in astronomy. 1. Axis of the world, terior ones shorter than the rest; there is no an imaginary right line conceived to pass corolla ; nor is there any pericarpium ; the through the centre of the earth, from one seed is single, oblong, compressed obtuse, pole to the other, about which the sphere and contained in the cup. of the world in the Ptolemaic system re AYE-aye, in natural history, a singular volves in its diurnal rotation. 2. The axis quadruped discovered by Sonnerat, in the of a planet, is that line drawn through the island of Madagascar, and described in his centre about which the planet revolves. The voyage to the East Indies. Sonnini forms a sun, together with all planets, except Mer new genus of this animal, under the name of cury, Saturn, and Herschel, are known by “ Chieromys," but Gmelin ranks it under observation to move about their respective the genus “Sciuras,” which see. axis. The axis of the earth, during its revo AYENIA, in botany, so called in honour lution round the sun, remains parallel to its of the Duke d’Ayen, a great promoter of the self, and is inclined to the plane of the eclip- science of botany, of the Gynandria Pen. tic, making with it an angle of 66 de- tandria class and order. Natural order of grees. 3. The axis of the equator, horizon, Columniferæ. Malvaceæ Jussica. Essenecliptic, zodiac, &c. are right lines drawn tial character, monogynous. Calyx fivethrough the centers of those circles perpen. leaved. Petals united into a star, with long dicular to their planes.
claws ; five anthers, under the star ; capsule Axis, in conic sections, a right line di- five-celled. There are four species ; of viding the section into two equal parts, and which, three are natives of South America, cutting all its ordinates at right angles. See and one of Jamaica. These plants are proCONIC SECTIONS.
pagated by seeds, sown in the spring in hotAxis, in mechanics. The axis of a bal- beds, where they must continue ; but they lance is that line about which it moves, or will want a good portion of free air. If exrather turns about. Axis of oscillation is a posed to the open atmosphere, they will not right line parallel to the horizon, passing thrive; and if too much drawn, they do not through the centre about which a pendulum flower well. The plant will live through yibrates.
the winter, but as they perfect their seeds Axis in peritrochio, one of the five the first year, the old plants are seldom con. mechanical powers, consisting of a peritro- tinued. chium or wheel concentric with the base of AZALEA, in botany, of the Pentandria