The Original

In this section we like to introduce the reader to an original text (of figure) as it was originally published. Subjects vary and may relate to works that have been of major interest for the development of oceanography, they may contain a particularly interesting observation, or be outright funny (to today's readers). Each 'original' consists of a scanned page, with a short explanatory note. Suggestions/contributions are welcomed. Note that the more recent texts are in English.


Early Dutch work [1865] on the sea and its richness

Geplaatst 21 feb. 2019 05:35 door Historie van de Oceanografie Club

Anon., [1865]. De zee en haar rijkdom. De uitvinding van het kompas en het tegenwoordige standpunt der zeevaarteundige instrumenten , vuur- en licht-torens , de duikerklok en duikerboot , de weten-schap in dienst van den mensch bij zijnen strijd met de elementen, vischvangst, jagten op zee, visscherij, zeewezen, scheepvaart en wereldhandel. Leiden, A.W. Sijthoff, pp. 296.

Who wrote this curious book, written in Dutch, dealing with many different aspects of the sea? It provides a truly wide spectrum of sea related issues, clearly written by a person (or persons) who had detailed knowledge. The book is highlighted with many woodcuts. Although issued anonymous and with no date, the Koninklijke Bibliotheek dates it at 1865. With this date it is one of the earliest works originally written in Dutch on the topic of oceanography. Of course, Marsilli’s Natuurkundige beschrijving der zeen (1786) was the first (a translation of the 1725 original in French). The two volumes of Zimmermann’s De zee, hare bewoners en wonderen (1838-1839) were translated from German and Maury’s Natuurkundige beschrijving der zeeën (1855) was translated (and partly edited) by Marin Henri Jansen (1817-1893) from the English original. As the sub-title suggests, there are many chapters, e.g. on maritime instruments (compass, steering wheel, log, octant, barometer, even the thermometer to detect different water masses or nearby icebergs), and lighthouses.

The ‘bateau poisson’ of Brutus (de) Villeroi (1794–1874), the fish-shaped vessel, built in 1832, and in 1837 demonstrated in Paris to Netherlands’ representatives (including Antoine Lipkens (1782-1847) and Ltz. Olke Arnoldus Uhlenbeck (1810-1888), receives much attention with a folding plate.

‘Bateau poisson’ of Brutus (de) Villeroi (1794–1874), interior.
‘Bateau poisson’, exterior.

Also fisheries are rather detailed with information on history, methods and catches for herring, cod (stock fish), salmon, tuna, and sturgeon. Culturing of oysters and mussels, the latter on artificial substrates like branches and poles, is presented in the book, as is fishing for pearls, coral, sponges and amber. Hunting for sharks, seals, walrus and whales, but also for seabirds (edible bird’s nests) was a common practice. Already in the 1860s there was an interest in fish culture (according to the text ‘invented’ by the German Graf von Holstein in 1763). Induced spawning of e.g. trout or salmon is practiced, and provides amusing reading; dedicated installations were erected to facilitate this culture (see more pictures in 'ad HOC #15'.

The second half of the book relates to shipping (history, shipbuilding, sailing ships and (paddle) steamers, the use of ships screws, crews), harbours and world trade by sea.
The chapter on ‘Science in support of mankind and his combat against the elements’ discusses (trade) winds, storms, and currents. A link is made with the KNMI: “De Nederlander mag er trotsch op zijn, bij deze waarnemingen eene eerste plaats in te nemen. Het Koninklijk Nederlandsch meteorologisch Instituut te Utrecht, onder hoofddirectie van professor BUYS BALLOT, bevat eene afdeeling, welke zich uitsluitend met de zeevaart bezig houdt en die onder de directie van eenen zeeofficier staat, terwijl er nog een zeeman bij gedetacheerd is als onderofficier.” After a section related to M.F. Maury’s work on wind and current charts there is a reference to “ons instituut” (our institute), the only indication about a possible author. Who was the author? ‘Ons instituut’ points to someone from KNMI, at least for the section on oceanography. A first though is Marin Henri Jansen (1817-1893), good friend of Maury, but he was only for a short period director of the Afdeling Zeevaart at KNMI (February - December 1854), which does not appear to match with the presumed publication date of 1865. A better option seems Karel Frederik Robbert Andrau (1824 - 1914), KNMI director January 1859 – December 1863, considered competent for at least the chapter on oceanography. But, considering the high level of detail of the information on various rather different subjects (oceanography, fisheries, shipping, trade), one may argue that it was not just one author but a collective of authors. Was this the reason why they are not identified by the publisher? Any suggestion by our readers would be welcomed.

For those interested to learn more about this work: You can view this book via Delpher of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (National Library of the Netherlands).

References

1)     https://www.delpher.nl/nl/boeken1/gview?query=de+zee+en+haar+rijkdom&coll=boeken1&identifier=m36u58FtzJQC

2)     https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brutus_de_Villeroi

3)     https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antoine_Lipkens

4)     https://www.nederlandsekrijgsmacht.nl/index.php/km/366-marineofficieren/marine/artikelen-marinepersoneel/1186-uhlenbeck-olke-arnoldus

5)     Anon., 1954. 1854 Koninklijk Nederlands Meteorologisch Instituut 1954, Staatdrukkerij, den Haag, pp. 470

Kees Kramer


John Ross's deep sea instruments (1818)

Geplaatst 21 feb. 2019 05:12 door Historie van de Oceanografie Club   [ 21 feb. 2019 05:14 bijgewerkt ]

The plate comes from John Ross’s ‘A voyage of discovery: made under the orders of the Admiralty, in His Majesty's ships Isabella and Alexander, for the purpose of exploring Baffin's Bay, and inquiring into the probability of a North-West Passage’, Vol.2, (2nd edition), 1819. Longman, London. It depicts three instruments used by the expedition: a Deep Sea Clam (Fig. 1), a Hydraphorus (Fig. 2) and a Marine Artificial Horizon (Fig. 3).

The Deep Sea Clamm was an early grab sampler (sounder) designed by Sir John Ross (1777–1856) on board H.M.S. Isabella in 1818. Ross wrote: “The instrument was made from the model by the ship’s armourer, and succeeded on the first trial”. The Clamm worked well and collected sediment as well as some biota (worms, and starfishes attached to the cable) from depths at over 1,000 fathoms. A bonus was that they could, once the instrument was on deck, insert a thermometer in the soft sediment and read a reasonably accurate temperature (in contrast to the non-insulated water samplers). Because of the weight of sampler and cable, the Clamm required a whale line “which are two and a half inches in circumference, made of the best hemp, and very pliable and easily coiled”. For shallower seas Ross advised: “for the North Sea, I would recommend one of fifty pounds”.


Also the Hydraphorus was an invention of John Ross (Appendix XIII opus. cit.). The water sampler he received from Sir Humphrey Davy for the work on board H.M.S Isabella failed “as its power was limited to 80 fathoms”. The new instrument, only manufactured after the return of the ship, was made of copper. The top part had an aperture to let the water in, which was covered by a circular plate with a similar hole and with a toothed rim (800 divisions). This plate was rotated by a vane when lowering the device in the water. Pre-setting of the desired water depth where the sampler should operate was thus possible. 

Its size “intended for the expedition was 18 inches in length besides the swivel, the circumference of the cylinder 15½ inches, the whole weighing 78½ pounds, and intended to contain about 3 English pints of water.”
See e.g. McConnell, 1982[1]; Deacon, 1997[2]
Kees Kramer


DESCRIPTION. FIG. 2.

F — Section of the machinery.

G — Upper part or rope of the instrument.

E — The instrument complete.

No. 5 - Vanes of the rotator.

6 - Rotator with spiral wheel.

7 - First large wheel turned by the rotator.

8 - Small wheel on the same axis, a. No. 7.

9 - Second large wheel turned by No. 8.

10 - Swivel to which the rope is attached.

11 - Spring air valve.

12 - Aperture in the wheel coinciding with one in the cylinder to admit water.

13 - The ears for attaching additional weights.

14 - Stop cock.

15 - Rope.


[1] McConnell, A., 1962. No sea to deep. The history of oceanic instruments. Adam Hilger, Bristol, pp.162

[2] Deacon, M., 1997. Scientists and the sea 1650-1900. A study of marine science (2nd Ed). Ashgate, Aldershot, pp. 459

Seaside Naturalist Robert William Fraser (1810-1878)

Geplaatst 15 jun. 2016 05:56 door Historie van de Oceanografie Club

From: R.W. Fraser, 1860. Ebb and Flow, the Curiosities and Marvels of the Sea Shore. Houlston & Wright, London, 251 pp.

by: Gerhard C. Cadée, Royal NIOZ, Texel (Gerhard.Cadee@nioz.nl)

Victorian seaside naturalists
There is probably no other country in the world where in the 19th century so many books on the seashore where published as the UK. The history of this ‘Heyday’ in the UK is well described by Lynn Barber (1980) and David Allen (1976). Many of the books appeared as well-bound volumes, nicely illustrated with engravings and sometimes coloured plates. Many collect these now, probably more for their nice binding and illustrations than for the text. Best known are of course those written by P.H. Gosse, but there are many other authors as we can find in Freeman (1980). We may be overwhelmed by the many guides for marine life and the sea shore that appear nowadays, but books on the ‘curiosities’, ‘marvels’ and ‘wonders’ of the seaside appeared also in high numbers in Victorian times.

These books were written in particular for the middle class families: they offered something to do, and there was nothing they needed so badly. The boredom of the affluent Victorian family is truly frightful to contemplate writes Lyn Barber (1980). One had the servants to do the work. And even a holiday by the sea could be boring. Dickens (1836) writes: “thus passed the days and the evenings of the Tuggs’s and the Waters’s, for six weeks. Sands in the morning – donkeys at noon – pier in the afternoon – library at night – and the same people everywhere.”

The natural history writers, stresses Barber (1980: p. 21), offered something to do and they were sure of an attentive audience and “natural history had a far superior claim to attention, one that did make it automatically more rational and respectable than all the other sciences put together. This was natural theology, the spiritual exercise that enabled one to look through Nature up to Nature’s God”. It is no wonder that many of the authors were parson-naturalists attached to a church like Gilbert White, Philip H. Gosse, Hugh Miller, Charles Kingsley, John G. Wood and Robert W. Fraser.

In his book The aquarium (1854) P.H. Gosse described his observations of coastal life and gave instructions how to build a miniature tidal pool at home. Keeping an aquarium became a craze in particular in England, but also in some other countries (Brunner, 2005). Collecting the tide pools of Devonshire and Cornwall in the footprints of Gosse also had its negative aspects. Gosse’s son Edmund collected the tide pools with his father as a boy. In 1907
he writes “There is nothing, now, where in our days [the 1850’s] there was so much. Then the rocks between the tide and tide were submarine gardens of a beauty that seemed to be fabulous”.[…] “Half a century ago, in many parts of the coast of Devonshire and Cornwall, where the limestone at the water’s edge is wrought into crevices and hollows, the tide-line was, like Keats’ Grecian vase, ‘a still unravished bride of quietness.’”

Robert William Fraser
I will pick out two books of one of these Victorian authors: Ebb and Flow, the Curiosities and Marvels of the Sea Shore (1860) (Fig. 1) and The Seaside Naturalist (1868) by Rev. R.W. Fraser. According to Fraser’s introduction the second book can be seen as a third and enlarged edition of his earlier Seaside divinity, of which appeared two editions in 1861. These books can also be visited on internet.
Details of Robert William Fraser‘s life are “tantalizing sparse” according to Moore (2013). Fraser studied probably at Edinburgh University and added M.A. to his name (Magister Artium, a type of master’s degree awarded by universities). However, he is not mentioned in a list of Edinburgh graduates. He was licensed to preach by the Edinburgh Presbyterian Free Church in 1840. He distinguished himself as an eloquent preacher and was chosen for St. John’s Church Edinburgh in 1844 and stayed there until his death. DNB biographies [1] gives a list of books he wrote. These include also a history of Turkey and one on romantic parish kirks and manses in Scotland. Moore (2013) deals in extenso with Fraser’s seaside books which appeared in 1860-1868. These were published after Darwin’s Origin of species (1859) and the avoidance of the issue of evolution by natural selection in Fraser’s books, in order not to shock his readers, is the main theme of Moore’s 2013 paper. Fraser’s closing sentence of the chapter on rayed animals - sea urchins in The Seaside Naturalist nicely illustrates this: “Truly the skill of the great Architect of nature is not less displayed in the construction of a sea-urchin than in the building of a world!”

Changing the title of a book with the appearance of a new edition, may help selling, but in fact the topics dealt with are almost the same in all his three seaside books. Apparently, Fraser’s books were appreciated, sold well and he was able to add many more illustrations in The seaside naturalist than in the earlier seaside books, which added much to their attractive power.

He used drawings by a range of artists: G.H. Andrews, H.N. Humphreys, J. Wolf, T.W. Wood, J.B. Zwecker and these drawings were engraved by the brothers Dalziel. I have selected a few of these illustrations to indicate what makes in particular The Seaside Naturalist even now delightful for a book collector, although the text may be only of historical interest. The frontispiece (Fig. 2) is a charming illustration of an old method of pilchard fishing on the Cornish coast. A large number of small boats are engaged and the man on top of the cliff is the cliff-watcher. When he discovers a shoal of pilchards by the movement of the water surface he directs, with the branch of a tree, the boats where to go. Figure 3 is illustrates fishery of lobsters, shrimps and oysters, but also a number of crustaceans and molluscs mentioned in other chapters. Publishing plates was expensive, however, the illustrator has elegantly succeeded in combining different objects in one plate. We see a comparable configuration in several of the other plates, for example on the one with seabirds (Fig. 4). The book has in total 30 text-figures and 7 plates. I will end with a very attractive picture of ‘maritime’ plants (Fig. 5). You may find them all on a sandy coast, but never flowering so near each other. The arrangement looks like the artistic paintings of bouquets in the 18th and 19th century, which show flowers that not always were blossoming in the same season.


References

Allen, D.E., 1976. The Naturalist in Britain. A social history. Penguin, London. 292 p.

Barber, L., 1980. The Heyday of natural History 1820-1870. Doubleday, New York. 320 p.

Brunner, B., 2005. The Ocean at Home. An illustrated History of the Aquarium. Princeton Architectural Press, New York. 143 p. (first published in German in 2003).

Dickens, C., 1836. The Tuggs’s at Ramsgate. Republished in: Sketches by Boz. Chapman & Hall, London. 292 p.

Freeman, R.B., 1980. British natural history books: 1495-1900, a handlist. Dawson, Folkestone. 437 p.

Gosse, Edmund, 1907. Father and son, a study of two temperaments. Heinemann, London. 335 p.

Moore, P.G., 2013. Seaside natural history and divinity: a science-inclined Scottish cleric’s avoidance of evolution (1860-1868). Archives of Natural History, 40: 84-93.



The U.S. Grinnell Expedition in search of Sir John Franklin

Geplaatst 15 jun. 2016 05:30 door Historie van de Oceanografie Club   [ 15 jun. 2016 05:32 bijgewerkt ]

From: E.K. Kane, 1854. The U.S. Grinnell Expedition in search of Sir John Franklin. Harper & Brothers, New York. 552 pp.
by Gerhard C. Cadée, R. Neth. Inst. Sea Research (gerhard.cadee@nioz.nl)



Introduction
John Franklin’s lost expedition with the Erebus and Terror in the Arctic became one of the most discussed. In search of the Northwest Passage’, Franklin departed England in 1845 and the entire expedition, Franklin and his 128 expedition members, was never heard of after. Wikipedia gives excellent information on Franklin’s expedition. It mentions all the search expeditions and what they found, up to the identification of the wreck of the Erebus in 2014. It also reviews all the suggestions why everyone was killed: cold, starvation, cannibalism, diseases including scurvy, pneumonia, tuberculosis, lead poisoning. Nevertheless John Franklin became a Victorian hero, not Kane and many others who survived in search of Franklin.

The First Grinnell expedition
In 1848 the British Admiralty launched an expedition in search of Franklin. But before the beginning of 1850 they had abounded the search without results. In parti­cular Franklin’s wife stimulated renewed efforts and claimed help from other countries. As a result also Henry Grinnell, a New York merchant, fitted out two of his own vessels the Advance and Rescue and offered them to the US government for a search expedition. Elisha Kent Kane, senior medical officer on this expedition, was asked to write the history of it. The 22nd of May 1850 the ships left New York. No less than 13 ships joined the search in 1850.
The brigs Advance and Rescue had a small crew of 33 in total. They were small vessels (together only 235 tons) as compared with the frigates and corvettes of the US naval Kane was used to. How­ever they proved to be strong enough to survive a voyage of almost 16 months most of the time kept in ice. Kane gives a detailed description of the voyage, based on the diary he kept.

Partly drifting in pack ice they reach their northernmost point 76o 25’ N in Baffins Bay in August, where they find open water and sail to Lancaster Sound and enter Barrow Straits as far west as Griffith Island 96o W. Here they meet in total 8 other search vessels and in a joint research on land they found an encampment of Franklin’s men as well as 3 graves of people from the Erebus and Terror. Probably they stayed here their first winter. The Rescue and Advance planned to travel North in the Wellington Channel but soon became hindered by ice and remained drifting with the ice, first to the North but soon all way back to Baffin Bay. Not before early June 1851 they became free and directed towards the Whale-fish Islands (Disko). They remained for some time on terra firma to recuperate and decided to go again north­ward but became closed-in by ice at 74o N and as soon as they became free again, the 10thof August, decided not to stay another winter. One of the main reasons was the scurvy. Most of the 33 members of the expedition suffered from scurvy. Although it was know that vegetables and fruit would have been the best remedy, their was not enough available for a second winter in the ice. The meat of birds, polar foxes and ice bears had not the effect they hoped it would give. Nor could Kane prove his statement that active exercises were the best safeguard against scurvy. Nevertheless all 33 members returned home alive. Both vessels reached New York early October 1851.


New search plan

The book ends with a the text of a lecture ‘Access to a Polar Sea’ read by the author for the American Geographical and Statistical Society on December 14 in 1852. Here he explains his plans for a follow up of the search. Based on a couple of arguments, including their discovery of open water in the Northern Baffin bay, he believes in an open Arctic Sea, North of where they stranded in pack ice in 1850. They should travel in winter with sledges over the ice to reach this open Polar Sea, and continue their travel in rubber boats. Here they might encounter the remains of Franklin’s expedition. In 1953 when the book went to the press, Kane was already on a second Polar expedition made possible by Grinnell.

Illustrations
What makes this book remarkable are the many text figures and the plates. These are engravings based on sketches by the author himself, redrawn by J. Hamilton and engraved by J. Sartain. These engravings are in the mezzotint style, which enables to give distinctive dramatic atmospheric effects. This was first used and made famous by John Martin (1789-1854) in engravings after his own paintings of for instance the Deluge (1828), but also used in pictures of the ‘deep past’ (see Rudwick, 1992). This example of Sartain’s engravings may show their dramatic beauty.


Reference
Rudwick,
Martin J.S., 1992. Scenes from Deep Time. Early Pictorial Representations of the Prehistoric World. Univ. Chicago Press, pp.294




Aanzet tot een 'Zoölogisch Station' - 1873

Geplaatst 9 apr. 2013 05:57 door Historie van de Oceanografie Club   [ 18 nov. 2014 03:25 bijgewerkt ]


Het origineel van deze keer betreft twee pagina’s uit de eerste jaargang van het ‘Tijdschrift der Nederlandsche Dierkundige Vereeniging, onder redactie van A.A. Van Bemmelen, als President van het Bestuur, Prof. H.J. Van Ankum, Prof. P. Harting en Prof. C.K. Hoffmann, namelijk het ‘Verslag der gewone huishoudelijke vergadering der Nederlandsche Dierkundige Vereniging, gehouden te Leiden, den 15 November 1873. Voorzitter: de Heer A.A. van Bemmelen’.

Hierin wordt de “een voorstel van het Bestuur omtrent het oprichten van een zoölogisch station” besproken. Het Bestuur “ontveinst zich volstrekt niet, dat aan het tot standbrengen van zoodanige stations groote onkosten zullen verbonden zijn” en vraagt “aan de leden machtiging, om tot de oprichting van een zoölogisch station in dezen geest te Scheveningen te mogen overgaan en verzoekt daarvoor eene toelage van ƒ 200.”


Hetzelfde Eerste Deel bevat onder andere ook het:
  • Verslag der eerste vergadering tot het oprichten der Vereeniging, (15 Mei 1872 te Rotterdam)
  • Verslag der tweede vergadering tot het oprichten der Vereeniging, (21 September 1872 te Rotterdam) en de
  • Wet der Vereeniging.

De oprichting van de Nederlandsche Dierkundige Vereeniging (NDV) was een feit.

De NDV heeft een belangrijk stempel gedrukt op de oceanografie in Nederland, al was het maar als werkgever (bijvoorbeeld, voordat het NIOZ onder NWO kwam was de NDV formeel de werkgever van het personeel). (Kees Kramer)

Athanasius Kircher, 1678

Geplaatst 9 apr. 2013 05:50 door Historie van de Oceanografie Club   [ 9 apr. 2013 09:45 bijgewerkt ]


Dit is de kaart ‘Tabula geographico-hydrographica motus oceani, currentos, abyssos, montes ignivomos in universoorbe indicans’ van de Duitse Jezuïet Athanasius Kircher (1602–1680) uit zijn Athanasii Kircheri: Mundus subterraneus in XII libros digestus. Tomus I uit 1678 (Joannem Janssonium à Waesberge, Amstelodami, pp.366). Link naar grotere uitvoering

Hoewel er geen richting van de stroming is aangegeven wordt deze kaart gezien als oudste kaart aangaande de oceaanstromingen (eerste uitgave 1665). Kircher dacht dat er een ondergrondse retourstroom was (en bijvoorbeeld een ondergrondse verbinding tussen Indische Oceaan en Middellandse Zee). (Kees Kramer)

Otis Barton expeditie - 1952

Geplaatst 9 apr. 2013 04:39 door Historie van de Oceanografie Club   [ 18 nov. 2014 03:50 bijgewerkt ]

Uit: Molino, W., 1952. Gli esploratori degli abissi. La Domenica del Corriere, Nov. 1952



[klik voor een groter beeld]

Ditmaal een populaire representatatie van de Otis Barton expeditie in 1949 in de Californische wateren. Bij deze duik werd het record van Beebe/Barton (3028 voet, ‘half a mile down’) in 1932 met de Bathysphere scherper gesteld tot 4500 voet. Afgebeeld is de Benthoscope die Barton gebruikte, met ‘pesci fosforescenti e di forme mostruose’, die het ergste doen vermoeden (zie ook: Barton, O., 1954. Adventure on land and under the sea. Longmans, London).

Kees Kramer

Roberto Boyle - Saltness of the sea - 1680

Geplaatst 10 apr. 2011 03:35 door Historie van de Oceanografie Club   [ 18 nov. 2014 03:43 bijgewerkt ]

 Uit: Boyle, Roberto, 1680. Introductio ad historiam qualitatum particularium cui Subnectuntur Tractatus de cosmicis rerum qualitatibus, de cosmicis suspicionibus, de temperie subterranearum regionum, de temperie submarinarum regionum, de fundo maris. Genevæ, Samuelem de Tournes


[klik voor groter beeld]
 
Robert Boyle (1627-1691) schreef ook over de oceaan, bijvoorbeeld in de ‘Tracts consisting of observations about the saltness of the Sea’ (1674), en de ‘Tracts written by the Honourable Robert Boyle about the cosmicall suspitions, the temperature of the subteranean regions, the temperature of the submarine regions, the bottom of the sea: to which is præfixt An introduction to the history of particular qualities’ (1670). Van de laatste zijn 6 edities van bekend, waarvan de twee pagina’s die hier zijn weergegeven komen uit de versie in het Latijn (1680). De sectie ‘Relationes de fundo maris’ bevat 8 pp.

Boyle heeft de gegevens, bijvoorbeeld dat zeewater op grotere diepten kouder is, niet zelf waargenomen, maar gebaseerd op het ondervragen van zeelui en reizigers (zie ook A. McConnell, 1962. No sea to deep. The history of oceanic instruments)
 
Kees Kramer

Animaux trouvés entre 1000 et 1500 mètres de profondeur - 1885

Geplaatst 10 apr. 2011 03:22 door Historie van de Oceanografie Club   [ 18 nov. 2014 03:28 bijgewerkt ]

Filhol, H., 1885. ‘La vie au fond des mers. Les explorations sous-marines et les voyages du Travailleur et du Talisman’

 
[klik voor groter beeld]

Katechismus der Natuur - 1777-1779

Geplaatst 19 feb. 2011 06:24 door Historie van de Oceanografie Club   [ 18 nov. 2014 03:32 bijgewerkt ]

Katechismus der Natuur, door J.F. Martinet, 1777-1779. Johannes Allart, Amsterdam (4 dln).

Johannes Florentius Martinet (1729-1795), predikant te Zutphen, was tevens doctor in de wijsbegeerte. De Katechismus, zijn bekendste werk behandelt de natuur in al haar facetten, in vragen en antwoorden. De zesde ‘zamenspraak’, ‘over het land en het water’ handelt onder meer over de zee. De mededeling dat de diepte van de Noordzee meer dan 780 vadem (ca. 1400 m) zou zijn berust op de gebrekkige technieken van die tijd. De gedachte dat de diepte en oppervlakte van de oceaan precies de juiste zijn is een voorbeeld van de fysico-theologische opvatting die toen opgang deed, niet alleen bij dominees, maar ook bij onderzoekers. Martinet was wel geen oceanograaf, maar onder zijn wetenschappelijke verhandelingen is een Verhandeling over ’t wier der Zuiderzee. Interessant is ook wat hij zegt als antwoord op de vraag: “Welke gewigtige diensten doet ons de Grootte der Zee?”. Hij legt uit dat de zee zo groot behoort te zijn “om dat zij het Riool der Waereld is, die alle onreinheden moet ontvangen, en verslinden”. Zonder dat men deze theologische opvatting huldigde, heeft men deze functie tot ver in de vorige eeuw algemeen aan de zee toegekend.


[klik voor groter beeld]

Vertalingen van de Katechismus werden uitgebracht in Frankrijk, Duitsland, Engeland en de Verenigde Staten.
Of Maury ooit kennis heeft genomen van de Katechismus weten we niet. Wèl dat hij zeker is beïnvloed door de fysico-theologie, zoals we kunnen zien in zijn “Physical Geography of the Sea”.
 
Leo Otto

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