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The author of an inquirer," on the theo. ry of the earth, begs leave to offer the following observations to the publisher of “the Bri. tish Spy,” in answer to some of his additional notes.
When the Inquirer read, in the second let. ter of the British Spy, that “the perpetual 6 revolution of the earth, from west to east, “ has the obvious tendency to conglomerate « the loose sands of the sea, on the eastern
coast,” _" that whether the rolling of the « earth to the east give to the ocean an actual « counter-current to the west or not, the "newly emerged pinnacles are whirled, by 6 the earth's motion, through the waters of " the deep;" and from the continued operation of the causes which produced then, that 66 all continents and islands will be caused, re- ciprocally to approximate;" when he read
these and other similar passages, he saw no reason to doubt, that the British Spy considered the occean now, as well as formerly, af. fected by the rotation of the earth; or, to express the same thing more correctly, that the rotatory motion of the earth is but par. tially communicated to the ocean. This opinion, which a thousand facts may be brought to disprove, and which the fa. vourite cosmogonist of the British Spy says no man can entertain who has the least knowledge of physicks, it was decorous to suppose, had been advanced from inadvertence. If the meaning of the writer were taken by the Inquirer, in a greater latitude than was meant, he is not the less sorry for his mistake,
* The passage in Smellie's translation of Buffon stands thus: but every man who has the least knowledge of phy. sicks, must allow, that no fluid which surrounds the earth, can be affected by its rotation ; Vol. I. On Regular winds.
because it was not a natural one, and was not confined to himself.
But the annotator of the Spy, without saying whether the supposed current now exist or not, thinks the former existence of such a current not improbable, and puts a case by way of illustrating his hypotheses. My reasoning on the subject, somewhat different from his, is briefly this.
If the whole surface of the earth, when it first received its rotatory impulse, were covered with water, and this impulse were communicated to its solid part alone, then, indeed, a current to the west would be produced ; and would continue, until the resistance, occasioned by the friction of the waters, gradually communicated the whole motion of the earth to the ocean. It is not easy to say, when this current would cease; but it seems to me it would be more likely to wear the bed of the ocean smooth,
than to raise protuberances; and even, though it were to cause sand banks, it could never elevate them above its own level.
I should observe that, to avoid circum. locution, I admit a current of the west ; because the effect is the same, as to alluvion, whether the earth revolve under the waters, or the waters roll over the earth; though the fact is, that the ocean, like the oil in the plate, in the experiment proposed, would have a tendency to remain at rest, and whatever motion it acquired, must be to the east, like that of the earth, from which it was derived.
If we suppose a few solitary mountains to lift their heads above the circumfluous ocean, we may infer, by the rules of strict analogy, that they would be worn away by the friction of the passing waters, rather than that they would receive any accessions of soil.
In this case,
But let us suppose some ridges of mountains running from north to south, and of sufficient extent and elevation to obstruct the course of the waters. the sudden whirling of the earth to the east would force the ocean on its western shores, where it would accumulate, until the gravity of the mass, thus elevated, overcame the force which raised it. Then one vast undulation of the stupendous mass would take place, from shore to shore, and would continue until it gradually y elded to the united effect of friction and gravity. A comparison between vessels of different sizes, partly filled with water, might enable us to form a rational conjecture of the term of this oscillation; but be it in one year, or many years, I think the effect would more probably be, an abrasion of the mountain, than the formation of a continent.
But the postulatum, that the first im