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PRESIDENT BEARWARDEN'S SPEECH.

"To the Bondholders and Stockholders of the Terrestrial Axis Straightening Company and Representatives of Earthly Governments.

"GENTLEMEN: You know that the objects of this company are, to straighten the axis of the earth, to combine the extreme heat of summer with the intense cold of winter and produce a uniform temperature for each degree of latitude the year round. At present the earth's axis--that is, the line passing through its centre and the two poles--is inclined to the ecliptic about twenty-three and a half degrees. Our summer is produced by the northern hemisphere's leaning at that angle towards the sun, and our winter by its turning that much from it. In one case the sun's rays are caused to shine more perpendicularly, and in the other more obliquely. This wabbling, like that of a top, is the sole cause of the seasons; since, owing to the eccentricity of our orbit, the earth is actually fifteen hundred thousand miles nearer the sun during our winter, in the northern hemisphere, than in summer. That there is no limit to a planet's inclination, and that inclination is not essential, we have astronomical proof. Venus's axis is inclined to the plane of her orbit seventy-five degrees, so that the arctic circle comes within fifteen degrees of the equator, and the tropics also extend to latitude seventy-five degrees, or within fifteen degrees of the poles, producing great extremes of heat and cold.

"Venus is made still more difficult of habitation by the fact that she rotates on her axis in the same time that she revolves about the sun, in the same way that the moon does about the earth, so that one side must be perpetually frozen while the other is parched.

"In Uranus we see the axis tilted still further, so that the arctic circle descends to the equator. The most varied climate must therefore prevail during its year, whose length exceeds eighty-one of ours.

The axis of Mars is inclined about twenty-eight and two thirds degrees to the plane of its orbit; consequently its seasons must be very similar to ours, the extremes of heat and cold being somewhat greater.

"In Jupiter we have an illustration of a planet whose axis is almost at right angles to the plane of its orbit, being inclined but about a degree and a half. The hypothetical inhabitants of this majestic planet must therefore have perpetual summer at the equator, eternal winter at the poles, and in the temperate regions everlasting spring. On account of the straightness of the axis, however, even the polar inhabitants--if there are any--are not oppressed by a six months' night, for all except those at the VERY pole have a sunrise and a sunset every ten hours--the exact day being nine hours, fifty five minutes, and twenty-eight seconds. The warmth of the tropics is also tempered by the high winds that must result from the rapid whirl on its axis, every object at the equator being carried around by this at the rate of 27,600 miles an hour, or over three thousand miles farther than the earth's equator moves in twenty-four hours.

"The inclination of the axis of our own planet has also frequently considerably exceeded that of Mars, and again has been but little greater than Jupiter's at least, this is by all odds the most reasonable explanation of the numerous Glacial periods through which our globe has passed, and of the recurring mild spells, probably lasting thousands of years, in which elephants, mastodons, and other semi-tropical vertebrates roamed in Siberia, some of which died so recently that their flesh, preserved by the cold, has been devoured by the dogs of modern explorers.

"It is not to be supposed that the inclining of the axes of Jupiter, Venus, the Earth, and the other planets, is now fixed; in some cases it is known to be changing. As long ago as 1890, Major-Gen. A. W. Drayson, of the British Army, showed, in a work entitled Untrodden Ground in Astronomy and Geology, that, as a result of the second rotation of the earth, the inclination of its axis was changing, it having been 23@ 28' 23" on January 1, 1750, 23@ 27' 55.3" on January 1, 1800, and 23@ 27' 30.9" on January 1, 1850; and by calculation one hundred and ten years ago showed that in 1900 (one hundred years ago) it would be 23@ 27' 08.8". This natural straightening is, of course, going on, and we are merely about to anticipate it. When this improvement was mooted, all agreed that the EXTREMES of heat and cold could well be spared. 'Balance those of summer against those of winter by partially straightening the axis; reduce the inclination from twenty-three degrees, thirty minutes, to about fifteen degrees, but let us stop there,' many said. Before we had gone far, however, we found it would be best to make the work complete. This will reclaim and make productive the vast areas of Siberia and the northern part of this continent, and will do much for the antarctic regions; but there will still be change in temperature; a wind blowing towards the equator will always be colder than one blowing from it, while the slight eccentricity of the orbit will supply enough change to awaken recollections of seasons in our eternal spring.

"The way to accomplish this is to increase the weight of the pole leaving the sun, by increasing the amount of material there for the sun to attract, and to lighten the pole approaching or turning towards the sun, by removing some heavy substance from it, and putting it preferably at the opposite pole. This shifting of ballast is most easily accomplished, as you will readily perceive, by confining and removing water, which is easily moved and has a considerable weight. How we purpose to apply these aqueous brakes to check the wabbling of the earth, by means of the attraction of the sun, you will now see.

"From Commander Fillmore, of the Arctic Shade and the Committee on Bulkheads and Dams, I have just received the following by cable telephone: 'The Arctic Ocean is now in condition to be pumped out in summer and to have its average depth increased one hundred feet by the dams in winter. We have already fifty million square yards of windmill turbine surface in position and ready to move. The cables bringing us currents from the dynamos at Niagara Falls are connected with our motors, and those from the tidal dynamos at the Bay of Fundy will be in contact when this reaches you, at which moment the pumps will begin. In several of the landlocked gulfs and bays our system of confining is so complete, that the surface of the water can be raised two hundred feet above sea- level. The polar bears will soon have to use artificial ice. Perhaps the cheers now ringing without may reach you over the telephone.'"

The audience became greatly interested, and when the end of the telephone was applied to a microphone the room fairly rang with exultant cheers, and those looking through a kintograph (visual telegraph) terminating in a camera obscura on the shores of Baffin Bay were able to see engineers and workmen waving and throwing up their caps and falling into one another's arms in ecstasies of delight. When the excitement subsided, the president continued:

"Chairman Wetmore, of the Committee on Excavations and Embankments in Wilkesland and the Antarctic Continent, reports: 'Two hundred and fifty thousand square miles are now hollowed out and enclosed sufficiently to hold water to an average depth of four hundred feet. Every summer, when the basin is allowed to drain, we can, if necessary, extend our reservoir, and shall have the best season of the year for doing work until the earth has permanent spring. Though we have comparatively little water or tidal power, the earth's crust is so thin at this latitude, on account of the flattening, that by sinking our tubular boilers and pipes to a depth of a few thousand feet we have secured so terrific a volume of superheated steam that, in connection with our wind turbines, we shall have no difficulty in raising half a cubic mile of water a minute to our enclosure, which is but little above sea-level, and into which, till the pressure increases, we can fan or blow the water, so that it can be full three weeks after our longest day, or, since the present unimproved arrangement gives the indigenes but one day and night a year, I will add the 21st day of December.

"'We shall be able to find use for much of the potential energy of the water in the reservoir when we allow it to escape in June, in melting some of the accumulated polar ice-cap, thereby decreasing still further the weight of this pole, in lighting and warming ourselves until we get the sun's light and heat, in extending the excavations, and in charging the storage batteries of the ships at this end of the line. Everything will be ready when you signal "Raise water."'"

"Let me add parenthetically," said Bearwarden, "that this means of obtaining power by steam boilers sunk to a great depth is much to be commended; for, though the amount of heat we can withdraw is too small to have much effect, the farther towards the centre our globe can be cooled the deeper will the water of the oceans be able to penetrate--since it is its conversion into steam that prevents the water from working its way in farther--and the more dry land we shall have."

"You see," the president continued, "the storage capacity at the south pole is not quite as great as at the north, because it is more difficult to excavate a basin than to close the exits of one that already exists, which is what we have done in the arctic. The work is also not so nearly complete, since it will not be necessary to use the southern reservoir for storing weight for six months, or until the south pole, which is now at its maximum declination from the sun, is turned towards it and begins to move away; then, by increasing the amount of matter there, and at the same time lightening the north pole, and reversing the process every six months, we decrease the speed at which the departing pole leaves the sun and at which the approaching pole advances. The north pole, we see, will be a somewhat more powerful lever than the south for working the globe to a straight position, but we may be sure that the latter, in connection with the former, will be able to hold up its end."

[The building here fairly shook with applause, so that, had the arctic workers used the microphone, they might have heard in the enthusiastic uproar a good counterpart of their own period.]

"I only regret," the president continued, "that when we began this work the most marvellous force yet discovered--apergy--was not sufficiently understood to be utilized, for it would have eased our labours to the point of almost eliminating them. But we have this consolation: it was in connection with our work that its applicability was discovered, so that had we and all others postponed our great undertaking on the pretext of waiting for a new force, apergy might have continued to lie dormant for centuries. With this force, obtained by simply blending negative and positive electricity with electricity of the third element or state, and charging a body sufficiently with this fluid, gravitation is nullified or partly reversed, and the earth repels the body with the same or greater power than that with which it still attracts or attracted it, so that it may be suspended or caused to move away into space. Sic itur ad astra, we may say. With this force and everlasting spring before us, what may we not achieve? We may some day be able to visit the planets, though many may say that, since the axes of most of those we have considered are more inclined than ours, they would rather stay here. 'Blessed are they that shall inherit the earth,'" he went on, turning a four-foot globe with its axis set vertically and at right angles to a yellow globe labelled "Sun"; and again waxing eloquent, he added: "We are the instruments destined to bring about the accomplishment of that prophecy, for never in the history of the world has man reared so splendid a monument to his own genius as he will in straightening the axis of the planet.

"No one need henceforth be troubled by sudden change, and every man can have perpetually the climate he desires. Northern Europe will again luxuriate in a climate that favoured the elephants that roamed in northern Asia and Switzerland. To produce these animals and the food they need, it is not necessary to have great heat, but merely to prevent great cold, half the summer's sun being absorbed in melting the winter's accumulation of ice.

"When the axis has reached a point at which it inclines but about twelve degrees, it will become necessary to fill the antarctic reservoir in June and the Arctic Ocean in December, in order to check the straightening, since otherwise it might get beyond the perpendicular and swing the other way. When this motion is completely arrested, I suggest that we blow up the Aleutian Isles and enlarge Bering Strait, so as to allow what corresponds to the Atlantic Gulf Stream in the Pacific to enter the Arctic Archipelago, which I have calculated will raise the average temperature of that entire region about thirty degrees, thereby still further increasing the amount of available land.

"Ocean currents, being the result of the prevailing winds, which will be more regular than at present, can be counted upon to continue practically as they are. It may not be plain to you why the trade winds do not blow towards the equator due south and north, since the equator has much the same effect on air that a stove has in the centre of a room, causing an ascending current towards the ceiling, which moves off in straight lines in all directions on reaching it, its place being taken by cold currents moving in opposite directions along the floor. Picture to yourselves the ascending currents at the equator moving off to the poles from which they came. As they move north they are continually coming to parts of the globe having smaller circles of latitude than those they have left, and therefore not moved forward as rapidly by the earth's daily rotation as the latitudes nearer the equator. The winds consequently run ahead of the surface, and so move east of north--the earth turning towards the east--while the heavier colder surface currents, rushing towards the equator to take the place of the ascending column, coming from regions where the surface whirls comparatively slowly to those where it is rotating faster, are continually left behind, and so move southwest; while south of the equator a corresponding motion results. Though this is not the most exact explanation, it may serve to make the action clear. I will add, that if any one prefers a colder or a warmer climate than that of the place in which he lives, he need only go north or south for an hour; or, if he prefers his own latitude, he can rise a few thousand feet in the air, or descend to one of the worked-out coal-mines which are now used as sanitariums, and secure his object by a slight change of altitude. Let us speed the departure of racking changes and extremes of climate, and prepare to welcome what we believe prevails in paradise--namely, everlasting spring."

Appended to the address was the report of the Government Examining Committee, which ran: "We have critically examined the Terrestrial Axis Straightening Company's figures and calculations, also its statements involving natural philosophy, physics, and astronomy, all of which we find correct, and hereby approve. [Signed] "For the Committee:

"HENRY CHELMSFORD CORTLANDT,

"Chairman."

The Board of Directors having ratified the acts of its officers, and passed congratulatory resolutions, the meeting adjourned sine die.