Page:The Pathfinder of the Seas.djvu/104

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
70
MATTHEW FONTAINE MAURY

and his imagination is excited at once by these opening sentences: "There is a river in the ocean. In the severest droughts it never fails, and in the mightiest floods it never overflows. Its banks and its bottom are of cold water, while its current is of warm. The Gulf of Mexico is its fountain, and its mouth is in the Arctic Seas. It is the Gulf Stream. There is in the world no other such majestic flow of waters. Its current is more rapid than the Mississippi or the Amazon, and its volume more than a thousand times greater".

In the chapter on the "Influence of the Gulf Stream upon Climates" is the followng striking passage on whales and other animals of the sea: "Now, the Western Islands is the great place of resort for whales: and at first there is something curious to us in the idea that the Gulf of Mexico is the harvest-field, and the Gulf Stream the gleaner which collects the fruitage planted there, and conveys it thousands of miles off to the hungry whale at sea. But how perfectly in unison is it with the kind and providential care of that great and good Being which feeds the young ravens when they cry, and caters for the sparrow. …

"The inhabitants of the ocean are as much the creatures of climate as are those of the dry land; for the same Almighty hand, which decked the lily and cares for the sparrow, fashioned also the pearl and feeds the great whale, and adapted each to the physical conditions by which His providence has surrounded it. Whether of the land or the sea, the inhabitants are all His creatures, subjects of His laws, and agents of His economy. The sea, therefore, we may safely infer, has its offices and duties to perform; so, may we infer, have its currents, and so, too, its inhabitants; consequently, he who under-