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WHY WRITTEN Fairies, fays, genii, sprites, etc., were once supposed to be helpful to some favored men. The stories about these imaginary beings have always had a fascinating interest. The most famous of these stories were told at Bagdad in the eleventh century, and were called The Arabian Nights' Entertainment. Then men were said to use all sorts of obedient powers, sorceries, tricks, and genii to aid them in getting wealth, fame, and beautiful... more...

THE THREE HYPOTHESES RESPECTING THE HISTORY OF NATURE. We live in and form part of a system of things of immense diversity and perplexity, which we call Nature; and it is a matter of the deepest interest to all of us that we should form just conceptions of the constitution of that system and of its past history. With relation to this universe, man is, in extent, little more than a mathematical point; in duration but a fleeting shadow; he is a... more...

INTRODUCTORY NOTES The author in this work endeavours to solve the greatest scientific problem that has puzzled scientists for the past two hundred years. The question has arisen over and over again, since the discovery of universal gravitation by Sir Isaac Newton, as to what is the physical cause of the attraction of gravitation. “Action at a distance” has long ceased to be recognized as a possible phenomenon, although up to the... more...

THEORY OF CREATION. Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation. New York: Wiley & Putnam. 1845. 12mo. pp. 291. This is one of the most striking and ingenious scientific romances that we have ever read. The writer of it is a bold man; he has undertaken to give a hypothetical history of creation, beginning, as the title-pages say, at the earliest period, and coming down to the present day. It is not quite so authentic as that of Moses, nor... more...

THE DIAGRAMS. The diagrams, it will be observed, are grouped under the seasons, and they indicate the positions of the constellations as they appear at 9 o'clock p.m. in mid-season. To facilitate finding and observing the constellations, the student should face in the direction indicated in the text. This applies to all constellations excepting those near the zenith. The four large plates are so arranged that the observer is supposed to be... more...

PART. I. Right understanding is the most equally divided thing in the World; for every one beleevs himself so well stor’d with it, that even those who in all other things are the hardest to be pleas’d, seldom desire more of it then they have; wherein it is not likely that all Men are deceived: But it rather witnesseth, That the faculty of right-judging and distinguishing truth from falshood (which is properly call’d,... more...

CHAPTER I. Dew, Water, Rain, Snow, Hail, Atmosphere, Wind, Lightning, Thunder, Electricity, Twilight, and the Aurora Borealis. What is Dew? Moisture collected from the atmosphere by the action of cold. During the day, the powerful heat of the sun causes to arise from the earth and water a moist vapor, which, after the sun sinks below the horizon, is condensed by the cold, and falls in the form of dew. Dews are more copious in the Spring and... more...