of rather more than twice what was previously known, and we have found that the total loss by absorption from atmosphere is nearly double what it has been heretofore supposed.
We have found it probable that the human race owes its existence and preservation even more to the heat-storing action of the atmosphere than has been believed.
The direct determination of the effect of water-vapor in this did not come within our scope; but that the importance of the blanketing action of our atmospheric constituents has been in no way overstated may be inferred when I add that we have found by our experiments that, if the planet were allowed to radiate freely into space without any protecting veil, its sunlit surface would probably fall, even in the tropics, below the temperature of freezing mercury.
I will not go on enumerating the results of these investigations, but they all flow from the fact, which they in turn confirm, that this apparently limpid sea above our head, and about us, is carrying on a wonderfully intricate work on the sunbeam, and on the heat returned from the soil, picking out selected parts in hundreds of places, sorting out incessantly at a task which would keep the sorting demons of Maxwell busy, and, as one result, changing the sunbeam on its way down to us in the way we have seen.
I have alluded to the practical utilities of these researches, but, practical or not, I hope we may feel that such facts as we have been considering about sunlight and the earth's atmosphere may be stones useful in the future edifice of science, and that if not in our own hands then in those of others, when our day is over, they may find the best justification for the trouble of their search, in the fact that they prove of some use to man.
May I add an expression of my personal gratification in the opportunity with which you have honored me of bringing these researches before the Royal Institution, and of my thanks for the kindness with which you have associated yourselves for an hour, in retrospect at least, with that climb toward the stars which we have made together, to find, from light in its fullness, what unsuspected agencies are at work to produce for us the light of common day?
|THE SCIENCE OF MORALITY.|
BY morals, or the science of morality, is meant that body of principles and laws, relating to conduct, which are conducive to the well-being of humanity. Morality, or, more accurately, the art of morality, is the carrying out in practice the laws which the science has established.