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PREFACE.

With respectful diffidence I venture to submit to meteorologists, and to the general lovers and admirers of the phenomena of the atmosphere, the ensuing pages. The work may be considered, in part, as a compilation of facts; and secondly, as a record of opinions.

The facts are indisputable; but the opinions are not infallible. The facts are derived from scientific sources of eminence and established reputation. I have freely availed myself of the observations of many eminent men, and rely on the merits and ability of their labours for the favourable reception of the present work; and to hope for less would be to detract from the value of their reputation. It may appear to some that I have diminished the dignity

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of science by the introduction of extraneous matter and irrelevant remarks. But I have endeavoured to treat the subject in a somewhat popular manner, and, to render the matter plain, have indulged in a style, perhaps rather too diffuse and discursive; hoping that some of the remarks may be acceptable to the general reader.

The atmosphere is such a boundless field of research, and teems with such amazing diversity of matter, that a vast multitude of minds may expatiate on its attributes and explore its domains. There are departments requiring investigation, suited to almost any and

every taste.

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Any new thought may invite attention, and bring an accession of students to meteorology, and increase our knowledge of it.

I am disposed to consider the atmosphere in a more exalted point of view, and with higher attributes, than is usually conceded to it. I regard it as primary organic compound, and having almost vital powers, and if not absolutely possessing life, yet being the breath of life.

It has all the chemical constituents or materials assigned to the organic compounds, as oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen in the vapour, and carbonic acid gas.

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