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MELODY OF THE OLD SCOTCH TUNES.
for when sounded together, though you know by the heat. ing that one is higher than the other, you cannot tell which it is. I have ascribed to memory the ability of comparing the pitch of a present tone with that of one past. But if there should be, as possibly there may be, something in the ear, similar to what we find in the eye, that ability would not be entirely owing to memory. Pos. sible the 'vibrations given to the auditory nerves by a particular sound may actually continue some time after the cause of those vibrations is past, and the agreement or disagreement of a subsequent sound become by comparison with them more discernible. For the impression mare on the visual nerves by a luminous object will continue for twenty or thirty seconds. Sitting in a room, look earnestly at the middle of a window a little while when the day is bright, and then shut your eyes; the figure of the window will still remain in the eye, and so distinct that you may count the panes. A remarkable circumstance attending this experiment, is, that the impression of forms is better retained than that of colours; for after the eyes are shut, when you first discern the image of the window, the panes appear dark, and the cross bars of the sashes, with the window frames and walls, appear white or bright; but if you still add to the darkness in the eyes by cover. ing them with your hand, the reverse instantly takes place, the panes appear luminous and the cross bars dark. And by removing the hand they are again reversed. This I know not how to account for: — Nor for the following: that after looking long through green spectacles, the white paper of a book will on first taking them off appear to have a blush of red; and after long looking through red glasses, a greenish cast; this seems to intimate
a relation between green and red not yet explained. Farther, when we consider by whom these ancient tunes were composed, and how they were first performed, we shall se that such barmonical successions of sounds were natural and even necessary' in their construction. They were composed by the minstrels of those days to be played on the harp, accompanied by the voice. The harp was strung with wire, which gives a sound of long continuance, and had no contrivance like that in the modern harpsichord, by which the sound of the preceding could be stopt, the moment a succeeding note began.
To avoid actual discord, was therefore necessary that the succeeding emphatic note should be a chord with the preceding, as their sounds must exist at the same tinie. Hence arose that beauty in those tunes that has so long pleased, and will please for ever, though men scarce know why. "That they were originally coniposed for the harp, and of the most simple kind, I mean a harp without any half notes but those in the natural scale, and with no more than two octaves of strings, from c to c, i conjecture from another circumstance, which is, that not one of those tunes really ancient has a single artificial half note in it, and that in
when it can find better conductors near them, as metal rods, bolts, and hinges of windows or doors, giiding on wainscot, or frames of pictures, the silvering on the backs of looking-glasses, the wires for bells, and the bodies of animals, as containing watery fluids.
And in passing through the house it follows the direction of these conductors, taking as many in its way as can assist it in its passage, whether in a strait or crocked line, leaping from one to the other, if not far distant from each other, only rending the wall in the spaces where these partial good conductors are too distant from each other.
An iron rod being placed on the outside of a building, from the highest part continued down into the moist earth, in any direction strait or crooked, following the form of the roof or other parts of the building, will receive the lightning at its upper end, attracting it so as to prevent its striking any other part; and, affording it a good con. veyance into the earth, will prevent its damaging any part of the building.
A small quantity of metal is found able to conduct a great quantity of this fluid. A wire no bigger than a goosequill has been known to conduct (with safety to the building as far as the wire was continued) a quantity of lightning that did prodigious damage both above and below it: and probably larger rods are not necessary, though it is common in America, to make them of half an inch, some of three quarters, or an inch diameter.
The rod may be fastened to the wall, chimney, ctc. with staples of iron. – The lightning will not leave the rod (a good conductor) to pass into the wall (a bad conductor) through those staples.
It would rather, if any were in the wall, pass out of it into the rod to get more readily by that conductor into the earth.
If the building be very large and extensive, two or more rods may be placed at different parts, for greater security.
Small ragged parts of clouds, suspended in the air between the great body of clouds and the earth (like leaf gold in electrical experiments) often serve as partial conductors for the lightning, which proceeds from one of them to another, and by their help comes within the striking distance to the earth or a building. It therefore strikes through those conductors a building that would otherwise be out of the striking distance.
Long sharp points communicating with the earth, and presented to such parts of clouds, drawing silently from them the fluid they are charged with, they are then attracted to the cloud, and may leave the distance so great as to be beyond the reach of striking.
It is therefore that we elevate the upper end of the rod six or eight feet above the highest part of the build. ing, tapering it gradually to a fine sharp point, which is gilt to prevent its rusting.
Thus the pointed rod either prevents a stroke from the
cloud, or if a stroke is made, conducts it to the earth with safety to the building.
The lower end of the rod should' enter the earth so deep as to come at the moist part, perhaps two or three feet; and if bent when under the surface so as to go in a horizontal line six or eight feet from the wall, and then bent again downwards three or four feet, it will prevent damage to any of the stones of the foundation.
A person apprehensive of danger from lightning, happening during the time of thunder to be in a house not to secured, will do well to avoid sitting near the chimney, near a looking glass, or any gilt pictures or wainscot; the safest place is in the middle of the room (so it be not under a metal lustre suspended by a chain) sitting in one chair and laying the feet up in another. It is still safer to bring two or three matrasses or beds into the middle of the room, and, folding them up double, place the chair upon them; for they not being so good conductors as the walls, the lightning will not chuse an in. terrupted course through the air of the room and the bedding, when it can go through a continued better conductor, the wall. But where it can be had, a hammock or swinging bed, suspended by silk cords equally distant from the walls on every side, and from the ceiling and floor above and below, affords the safest situation a
per; can have in any room whatever; and what indeed may be deemed quite free from danger of any stroke by lightning Paris, Sept. 1767.
TENDENCY OF RIVERS TO THE SEA. Effect of the Sun's Rays on Cloths of different
Sept. 20, 1761. MY DEAR FRIEND, It is, as you observed in our late conversation, a very general opinion, that all rivers run into the sea, or deposite their waters there. It is a kind of audacity to call such general opinions in question, and may subject one to censure. But we must hazard something in what we think the cause of truth: and if we propose our objections modestly, we shall, though mistaken, deserve a censure less severe, than when we are both mistaken and insolent.
That some rivers run into the sea is beyond a doubt: such, for instance, are the Amazons, and I think the Oro
noko and the Mississippi. The proof is, that their waters are fresh quite to the sea, and out to sone distanee from the land. Our question is, whether the fresh waters of those rivers whose beds are filled with salt water to a considerable distance up from the sea (as the Thames, the Delaware, and the rivers that communicate with Chesapeak-bay in Virginia) do ever arrive at the sea ? And as I suspect they do not, I am now to acquaint you with my reasons; or, if they are not allowed to be reasons, my conceptions at least, of this matter.
The common supply of rivers is from springs, which draw their origin from rain that has soaked into the earth. The union of a number of springs forms a river. The waters as they run, exposed to the sun, air, and wind, are continually evaporating. Hence in travelling one may often see where a river runs, by a long blueish mist over it, though we are at such a distance as not to see the river itself. The quantity of this evaporation is greater or less, in proportion to the surface exposed by the same quantity of water to those causes of evaporation. While the river runs in a narrow confined channel in the upper hilly country, only a small surface is exposed; a greater as the river widens. Now if a river ends in a lake, as some do, whereby its waters are spread so wide as that the evaporation is equal to the sum of all its springs, that lake will never overflow: And if, instead of ending in a lake, it was drawn into greater length as a river, so as to expose a surface equal in the whole to that lake, the evaporation would be equal, and such river would end as a canal; when the ignorant might suppose, as they actually do in such cases, that the river loses itself by running under ground, whereas in truth it has run up into the air.
Now, many rivers that are open to the sea widen much before they arrive at it, not merely by the additional waters they receive, but by having their course stopped by the opposing flood-tide; by being turned back twice in twenty-four hours, and by finding broader beds in the low flat countries to dilate themselves in; hence the evaporation of the fresh water is proportionably increased; so that in some rivers it may equal the springs of supply: In such cases, the salt water comes up the river, and meets the fresh in that part where, if there were a wall or bank of earth across from side to side, the river would form a lake, fuller indeed at some times than at others, according to the seasons, but whose evaporation would, one time with another, be equal to its supply.
When the communication between the two kinds of water is open, this supposed wall of separation may be conceived as a moveable one, which is not only pushed some miles higher up the river by every flood tide from the sea, and carried down again as far by every tide of ebb, but which has even this space of vibration removed nearer to the sea in wet seasons, when the springs
brooks in the upper country are augmented by the talling rains, so as to swell the river, and farther from the sea in dry seasons.
Within a few miles above and below this moveable line of separation, the different waters mix a little, partly by their motion to and fro, and partly from the greater specific gravity of the salt water, which inclines it to run under the fresh, while the fresh water, being lighter, runs over the salt.
Cast your eye on the map of North America, and observe the bay of Chesapeak in Virginia, mentioned above; you will see, communicating with it by their mouths, the great rivers Susquehanah, Potowmack, Rappahanock, York, and James, besides a number of smaller streams, each as big as the Thames. It has been proposed by philosophical writers, that to compute how much water any river discharges into the sea in a given time, we should measure its depth and swiftness at any part above the tide; as, for the Thames, at Kingston or Windsor. But can one imagine, that if all the water of those vast rivers went to the sea, it would not first have pushed the salt water out of that narrow-mouthed bay, and filled it with fresh? - The Susquehanah alone would seem to be sufficient for this, if it were not for the loss by evaporation. And yet that bay is salt quite up to Annapolis.
As to our other subject, the different degrees of heat imbibed from the sun's rays by cloths of different colours, since I cannot find the notes of my experiment to send you, I must give it as well as I can from memory.
But first let me mention an experiment you may easily make yourself. Walk but a quarter of an hour in your garden when the sun shines, with a part of your dress white, and a part black; then apply your hand to them alternately, and you will find a very great difference in their warmth. The black will be quite hot to the touch, the white still cool.
Another. Try to fire the paper with a burning glass. If it is white, you will not easily burn it; - but if you bring the focus to a black spot, or upon letters, written or printed, the paper will immediately be on fire under the letters.
Thus fullers and dyers find black cloths, of equal thickness with white ones, and hung out equally wet, dry in the sun much sooner than the white, being more readily heated by the suns ray's. It is the same before a fire; the heat of which sooner penetrates black stockings than white ones, and so is apt sooner to burn a man's shins. Also beer much sooner warms in a black mug set before the fire, than in a white one, or in a bright silver tankard.
My experiment was this. I took a number of little square pieces of broad cloth from a taylor's pattern-card, of various colours. There were blak, 'deep blue, lighter blue, green, purple, red, yellow, white, and other colours,