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between the Azores, Canaries, and the Cape de
Verd Islands, is the great Sargasso Sea. Covering
an area equal in extent to the Mississippi
Valley, it is so thickly matted with the Gulf
weed (Fucus natans) that the speed of vessels
passing through it is often much retarded.
When the companions of Columbus saw it, they
thought it marked the limits of navigation, and
became alarmed. To the eye, at a little
distance, it seems substantial enough to walk upon.
Patches of the weed are generally to be seen
floating along the outer edge of the Gulf Stream.
The seaweed always " tails to" a steady or
constant wind, so that it serves the mariner as a
sort of marine anemometer, telling him whether
the wind as he finds it has been blowing for
some time, or whether it has but just shifted,
and which way. Columbus first found this weedy
sea on his voyage of discovery; there it has
remained to this day, moving up and down, and
changing its position, like the calms of Cancer,
according to the seasons, the storms, and the
winds. Exact observations as to its limits and
their range, extending back for fifty years,
assure us that its mean position, has not been
altered since that time.

Seaweed is frequently mentioned, also, by the
homeward-bound Australian traders on their way
to Cape Horn. It now appears that there really
exist five true sargassos. The one which lies to
the west of the Cape of Good Hope, though
small, is, perhaps, the best defined of them all.
The weedy space about the Falkland Islands is
probably not a true sargasso. The seaweed
reported there probably comes from the Straits of
Magellan, where immense masses of it grow.
These straits are so encumbered with seaweed
that steamers find great difficulty in making
their way through it. It so encumbers their
paddles as to make frequent stoppages necessary.

Navigators have often met with vast numbers
of young sea-nettles, or jelly-fish, drifting along
with the Gulf Stream. They are known to
constitute the principal food of the whale; but
whither bound by this route has caused much
curious speculation, for, as we have seen, the
habits of the right whale are averse to the warm
waters of this stream. An intelligent sea-captain
informed Captain Maury that, several years
ago, in the Gulf Stream off the coast of Florida,
he fell in with such a "school of young sea-
nettles as had never before been heard of." The
sea was covered with them for many leagues.
He likened them, as they appeared on near
inspection in the water, to acorns floating in a
stream; but they were so thick as completely
to cover the sea, giving it the appearance, in the
distance, of a boundless meadow in the yellow
leaf. He was bound to England, and was five
or six days in sailing through them. In about
sixty days afterwards, on his return, he fell in
with the same school off the Western Islands,
and here he was three or four days in passing
them again. He recognised them as the same,
for he had never before seen any like them; and
on both occasions he frequently hauled up
buckets full and examined them.

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 that caters for the
sparrow and feeds the young ravens when they cry!

As with the land, so with the sea; some parts
of it are as untravelled and as unknown as the
great Amazonian wilderness of Brazil, or the
inland basins of Central Africa. To the south
of a line extending from Cape Horn to the Cape
of Good Hope is an immense waste of waters.
None of the commercial thoroughfares of the
ocean lead through it; only the adventurous
whaleman finds his way there now and then in
pursuit of his game; but for all the purposes of science
and navigation, it is a vast unknown region. But
were the prevailing winds of the South Atlantic
northerly or southerly instead of easterly or
westerly, this unploughed sea would be an oft-
used thoroughfare. Nay more, the sea supplies
the winds with food for the rain which they
convey away to the springs in the valleys among
the hills. Therefore the history of the sea is
closely connected with the functions of the
atmosphere. The sea has its climates as well as
the land. They both change with the latitude;
but one varies with the elevation above, the
other with the depression below the sea-level.
The climates in each are regulated by circulation;
but the chief regulators are, on the one
hand, winds; on the other, currents. The
inhabitants of the ocean are as much the creatures
of climate as are those of the dry land. The
sea, therefore, we may safely infer, has its offices
and duties to perform; so have its currents, and
so so, too, its inhabitants. Consequently, he
who undertakes to study its phenomena must
cease to regard it as a waste of waters. He
must look upon it as a part of that exquisite
machinery by which the harmonies of nature are
preserved, and then he will begin to perceive
the developments of order and the evidences of

"When we look out upon the face of this
beautiful world, we may admire its lovely scenery;
but our admiration can never grow into adoration,
unless we take the trouble to look behind
and study, in some of its details, at least, the
system by which such beautiful results are
brought about. To him who does this, the sea,
with its physical geography, becomes as the
mainspring of a watch; its waters, and its
currents, and its salts, and its inhabitants, with
their adaptations, as balance-wheels, cogs, and
pinions, and jewels in the terrestrial mechanism.
Thus he perceives that they, too, are according
to designparts of the physical machinery that
are the expression of One Thoughta unity
with harmonies which One Intelligence, and
One Intelligence alone could utter. And when
he has arrived at this point, then he feels that
the study of the sea, in its physical aspects, is