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But there is a great difference between a gale and a wind1. The former are uniform and appear to rush forth2; they are felt, not in certain spots only, but over whole countries, not forming breezes or squalls, but violent storms3. Whether they be produced by the constant revolution of the world and the opposite motion of the stars, or whether they both of them depend on the generative spirit of the nature of things, wandering, as it were, up and down in her womb, or whether the air be scourged by the irregular strokes of the wandering stars4, or the various projections of their rays, or whether they, each of them, proceed from their own stars, among which are those that are nearest to us, or whether they descend from those that are fixed in the heavens, it is manifest that they are all governed by a law of nature, which is not altogether unknown, although it be not completely ascertained.

(46.) More than twenty old Greek writers have published their observations upon this subject. And this is the more remarkable, seeing that there is so much discord in the world, and that it is divided into different kingdoms, that is into separate members, that there should have been so many who have paid attention to these subjects, which are so difficult to investigate. Especially when we consider the wars and the treachery which everywhere prevail; while pirates, the enemies of the human race, have possession of all the modes of communication, so that, at this time, a person may acquire more correct information about a country from the writings of those who have never been there, than from the inhabitants themselves. Whereas, at this day, in the blessed peace which we enjoy, under a prince who so greatly encourages the advancement of the arts, no new inquiries are set on foot, nor do we even make ourselves thoroughly masters of the discoveries of the ancients. Not that there were greater rewards held out, from the advantages being distributed to a greater number of persons, but that there were more individuals who diligently scrutinized these matters, with no other prospect but that of benefiting posterity. It is that the manners of men are degenerated, not that the advantages are diminished. All the seas, as many as there are, being laid open, and a hospitable reception being given us at every shore, an immense number of people undertake voyages; but it is for the sake of gain, not of science. Nor does their understanding, which is blinded and bent only on avarice, perceive that this very thing might be more safely done by means of science. Seeing, therefore, that there are so many thousands of persons on the seas, I will treat of the winds with more minuteness than perhaps might otherwise appear suitable to my undertaking.

1 The terms in the original are "flatus" and "ventus."

2 "illos (flatus) states atque perspirantes."

3 "qui non aura, non procella, sed mares appellatione quoque ipsa venti sunt." This passage cannot be translated into English, from our language not possessing the technical distinction of genders, as depending on the termination of the substantives.

4 "Septem nimirum errantibus." Hardouin, in Lemaire, i. 306.

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