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Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 705 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 14.
the sun, though somewhat paler.  It burst a few moments after, and left behind it several bright sparks, of which the largest, of an oblong shape, moved quickly out of our horizon, whilst a kind of bluish flame followed, and marked its course.  Some heard a hissing noise, which accompanied the swift descent of this meteor.  Our shipmates expected a fresh gale after its appearance; having frequently observed the same to ensue upon similar occasions.  And in fact, whatever may be the relation between this phenomenon, and the motion of the atmosphere, or whether it was accident, their predictions were verified the same night, when a brisk gale sprung up, which settled at south.”—­G.F.
If the opinion of some philosophers as to the origin of these fire- balls, be correct, viz. that they are produced by the combination of animal or vegetable products suspended in the atmosphere, it is easy to understand, how, the equilibrium of the atmosphere being destroyed by the condensation, if one may so call it, of a large part of its constituent principles, those meteors should be followed by considerable gales or storms.  Perhaps, indeed, this opinion best explains all the circumstances of this phenomenon, and especially the occurrence so constantly observed of such agitation.  The subject, however, is still involved in a good deal of difficulty, from which a long and very accurate course of examination is requisite to deliver it.  Much has been effected in this respect, since the publication of Forster’s work; and there is no reason to doubt, that the application of an improved chemistry to a careful comparison of all the authentic relations of such phenomena, will issue in a satisfactory solution.—­E.

SECTION XI.

Sequel of the Passage from New Caledonia to New Zealand, with an Account of the Discovery of Norfolk Island; and the Incidents that happened while the Ship lay in Queen Charlotte’s Sound.

The wind continuing at S.W., W.S.W., and W., blowing a fresh gale, and now and then squalls, with showers of rain, we steered to S.S.E, without meeting with any remarkable occurrence till near noon on the 6th, when it fell calm.  At this time we were in the latitude of 27 deg. 50’ S., longitude 171 deg. 43’ E. The calm continued till noon the next day, during which time we observed the variation to be 10 deg. 33’ E. I now ordered the carpenters to work to caulk the decks.  As we had neither pitch, tar, nor rosin, left to pay the seams, this was done with varnish of pine, and afterwards covered with coral sand, which made a cement far exceeding my expectation.  In the afternoon, we had a boat in the water, and shot two albatrosses, which were geese to us.  We had seen one of this kind of birds the day before, which was the first we observed since we had been within the tropic.  On the 7th, at one p.m. a breeze sprung up at south; soon after it veered to, and fixed at S.E. by S., and blew a gentle gale, attended with pleasant weather.

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