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latitudes where the winter is scarcely felt on the Old continent, it reigns with great severity in America, though during a Mort period. Nor does this cold, prevalent in the New World, confine itself to the temperate zones; but extends its influence to the torrid zone, also, confiderably mitigating the excess of its heat. Along the eastern coast, the climate, though more similar to that of the torrid zone in other parts of the earth, is nevertheless considerably milder than in those countries of Asia and Africa which lie in the same latitude. From the southern tropic to the extremity of the American continent, the cold is said to be much greater than in parallel northern latitudes even of America itself,
For this fo remarkable difference between the climate of the New continent and the Old, various causes have been alligned by different authers. The following is the opinion of the learned Dr. Robertson on this subject. Though the utmost extent of America towards the north be not yet discovered, we know that it advances nearer to the pole than either Europe or Afia. The latter have large seas to the north, which are open during part of the year; and, even when covered with ice, the wind that blows over them is less intensely cold than that which blows over land in the same latitudes. But, in America, the land stretches from the river St. Laurence towards the pole, and spreads out immensely to the west. A chain of enormous mountains, covered with snow and ice, runs through all this dreary region. The wind pasting over such an extent of high and frozen land, becomes so impregnated with cold, that it acquires a piercing keenness, which it retains in its progress through warmer climates; and is not entirely mitigated until it reach the gulph of Mexico. Over all the continent of North America, a north-westerly wind and excessive cold are synonymous terms. Even in the most sultry weather, the moment that the wind veers to that quarter, its penetrating influence is felt in a transition from heat to cold no less violent than sudden, To this powerful cause we may ascribe the extraordinary dominion of cold, and its violent in-roads into the southern provinces in that part of the globe.
" Other causes, no less remarkable, diminish the active power of heat in those parts of the American continent which lie between the tropics, In all that portion of the globe, the wind blows in an invariable direction from east to weit. As this wind holds its course across the ancient continent, it arrives at the countries which stretch along the western shore of - Africa, inflamed with all the fiery particles which it hath collected from the sultry plains of Asia, and the burning fands in the African desarts, The coast of Africa is accordingly the region of the earth which feels
the mot fervent heat, and is exposed to the unmitigated ardour of the
But this fame wind, which brings such an accession of warmth to the countries lying between the river of Senegal and Cafraria, traverses the Atlantic ocean before it reaches the American shore. It is cooled in its paffage over this vast body of water; and is felt as a refreshing gale along the coasts of Brafil and Guiana, rendering those countries, though amongst the warmest in America, temperate, when compared with those which lie opposite to them in Africa. As this wind advances in its course across America, it meets with immense plains covered with impenetrable forests; or occupied by large rivers, marshes, and stagnating waters, where it can recover no considerable degree of heat. At length it arrives at the Andes, which run from north to south through the whole continent. In passing over their elevated and frozen summits, it is so thoroughly cooled, that the greater part of the countries beyond them hardly feel the ardour to which they seem exposed by their situation. In the other provinces of America, from Terra Firma westward to the Mexican empire, the heat of the climate is tempered, in some places, by the elevation of the land above the sea; in others, by their extraordinary humidity; and in all, by the enormous mountains fcattered over this tract. The islands of America in the torrid zone are either small or mountainous, and are fanned alternately by refreshing sea and land breezes. « The causes of the extra
traordinary cold towards the southern limits of America, and in the seas beyond it, cannot be ascertained in a manner equally fatisfying. It was long supposed, that a vast continent, diftinguished by the name of Terra Australis Incognita, lay between the fouthern extremity of America and the antarctic pole. The same principles which account for the extraordinary degree of cold in the northern regions of America, were employed in order to explain that which is felt at Cape Horn and the adjacent countries. The immense extent of the southern continent, and the rivers which it poured into the ocean, were mentioned and admitted by philosophers as causes sufficient to occasion the unusual sensation of cold, and the still more uncommon appearances of frozen feas in that region of the globe. But the imaginary continent to which such influence was ascribed having been searched for in vain, and the space which it was supposed to occupy having been tound to be an open sea, new conjectures must be formed with respect to the causes of a temperature of climate, fo extremely different from that which we experience in countries removed at the fame distance from the opposite pole,
“ The most obvious and probable cause of this superior degree of cold towards the southern extremity of America, seems to be the form of the continent there. Its breadth gradually decreases as it stretches from St. Antonio southwards, and from the bay of St. Julian to the straits of Magellan its dimensions are much contracted. On the east and west sides, it is washed by the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. From its southern point, it is probable that an open sea ftretches to the antaretic pole. In whichever of these directions the wind blows, it is cooled before it approaches the Magellanic regions, by passing over a vast body of water ; nor is the land there of such extent, that it can recover any considerable degree of heat in its progress over it. These circumstances concur in rendering the temperature of the air in this district of America more fimilar to that of an insular, than to that of a continental climate ; and hinder it from acquiring the same degree of summer-heat with places in Europe and Asia, in a corresponding northern latitude. The north wind is the only one that reaches this part of America, after blowing over a great continent. But, from an attentive survey of its position, this will be found to have a tendency rather to diminish than augment the degree of heat. The southern extremity of America is properly the termination of the immense ridge of the Andes, which stretches nearly is a direct line from north to south, through the whole extent of the continent. The most sultry regions in South America, Guiana, Brasily Paraguay, and Tucuman, lie many degrees to the east of the Magellanit regions. The level country of Peru, which enjoys the tropical heats, is situated considerably to the west of them. The north wind, then, though it blows over land, does not bring to the fouthern extremity of America an increase of heat collected in its paffage over torrid regions ; but, before it arrives there, it must have fwept along the summit of the Andes, and come impregnated with the cold of that frozen region.”
Another particularity in the climate of America, is its excessive moif. ture in general. In fome places, indeed, on the western coast, rain is not known; but, in al} other parts, the moistness of the climate is as remarkable as the cold. The forefts wherewith it is every where con vered, no doubt, partly occafion the moisture of its climate; but the most prevalent cause is the vast quantity of water in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, with which America is environed on all fides. Hence those places where the continent is narrowest are deluged with almost perpetual rains, accompanied with violent thunder and lightning, by which some of them, particularly Porto Bello, are rendered in a manner unipkabitable.
This extreme moisture of the American climate is productive of much larger rivers there than in any other part of the world. The Da. nube, the Nile, the Indus, or the Ganges, are not comparable to the Mislissippi, the river St. Laurence, or that of the Amazons; nor are such large lakes to be found any where as those which North America af. fords. To the same cause we are also partly to ascribe the excessive luxusiance of all kinds of vegetables in almost all parts of this country. In the southern provinces, where the moisture of the climate is aided by the warmth of the sun, the woods are almost impervious, and the surface of the ground is hid from the eye, under a thick covering of shrubs, herbs, and weeds. In the northern provinces, the forests are not encumbered with the same luxuriance of vegetation ; nevertheless, they afford trees much larger of their kind than what are to be found any where else.
From the coldness and the moisture of America, an extreme malignity of climate has been inferred, and asserted by M. de Paw, in his Recherches Philosophiques. Hence, according to his hypothesis, the smallness and irregularity of the nobler animals, and the size and enormous multiplication of reptiles and insects.
But the supposed smallness and less ferocity of the American animals, the Abbé Clavigero observes, instead of the malignity, demonstrates the mildness and bounty of the clime, if we give credit to Buffon, at whose fountain M. de Paw has drank, and of whose testimony he has availed himself against Don Pernetty. Buffon, who in many places of his Na. tural History produces the smallness of the American animals as a cer.
argument of the malignity of the climate of America, in treating afterwards of savage animals, in Tom. II. speaks thus : “ As all things, even the most free creatures, are subject to natural laws, and animals as well as men are subjected to the influence of climate and foil, it appears that the same causes which have civilized and polished the human species in our climates, may have likewise produced fimilar effects upon other species. The wolf, which is perhaps the fiercest of all the quadrupeds of the temperate zone, is however incomparably less terrible than the tyger, the lion, and the panther, of the torrid zone; and the white bear and hyena of the frigid zone. In America, where the air and the earth are more mild than those of Africa, the tyger, the lion, and the panther, are not terrible but in the name. They have degenerated, if fierceness, joined to cruelty, made their nature; or, to speak more properly, they have only fuffered the influence of the climate : under a milder sky, their nature also has become more mild. From climes which are immoderate in their temperature, are obtained drugs, perfumes, poisons,
| and all those plants whose qualities are strong. The temperate earth, on the contrary, produces only things which are temperate; the mildest herbs, the most wholesome pulse, the sweetest fruits, the most quiet animals, and the most humane men, are the natives of this happy clime. As the earth makes the plants, the earth and plants make animals; the carth, the plants, and the animals, make man. The physical qualities of man, and the animals which feed on other animals, depend, though more remotely, on the same causes which influence their difpofitions and customs. This is the greatest proof and demonstration, that in temperate climes every thing becomes temperate, and that in intemperate climes every thing is excessive; and that size and form, which appear fixed and determinate qualities, depend, notwithftanding, like the relative qualities, on the influence of climate. The size of our quadrupeds cannot be compared with that of an elephant, the rhinoceros, or fea-horse. The largest of our birds are but small, if compared with the oftrich, the condore, and cafare.” So far M. Buffon, whose text we have copied, because it is contrary to what M. de Paw writes against the climate of America, and to Buffon himself in many other places.
If the large and fierce animals are natives of intemperate climes, and small and tranquil animals of temperate climes, as M. Buffon has here established; if mildness of climate influences the disposition and customs of animals, M. de Paw does not well deduce the malignity of the climate of America from the smaller size and less fierceness of its animals; he ought rather to have deduced the gentleness and sweetness of its climate from this antecedent. If, on the contrary, the smaller size and less fierceness of the American animals, with respect to those of the old continent, are a proof of their degeneracy, arising from the malignity of the clime, as M. de Paw would have it, we ought in like manner to argue the malignity of the climate of Europe from the smaller size and less fierceness of its animals, compared with those of Africa. If a philosopher of the country of Guinea Nould undertake a work in imitation of M. de Paw, with this title, Recherches Philosophiques sur les Europeens, he might avail himself of the same argument which M. de Paw uses, to demonstrate the malignity of the climate of Europe, and the advantages of that of Africa. The climate of Europe, he would say, is very unfavourable to the production of quadrupeds, which are found incomparably smaller, and more cowardly than ours. What are the horse and the ox, the largest of its animals, compared with our elephants, our rhinoceroses, our feahorses, and our camels? What are its lizards, either in size or intrepidity, compared with our crocodiles ? Its wolves, its bears, the moft dreadful of its wild beasts, when beside our lions or tygers ? Its eagle, its