Hail, a meteor, which is usually defined to be frozen rain ; though it widely differs from the latter, as hail-stones are not composed of single pieces of ice, but of several small globules condensed together.
Hail is one of those phenomena, of which naturalists have in vain endeavoured to give a satisfactory explanation. As far as the limits of our knowledge extend, hail is a meteor, that is never productive of any good effect. Both rain and dew invigorate the whole vegetable world ; and the frost, by expanding the water contained in the earth, often pulverizes and renders the soil fertile; while the snow shelters the more tender plants from being injured by severe frost. Neither of these purposes is effected by hail, which is indeed attended with contrary effects: for, during the winter, it does not lie sufficiently close to the ground, to preserve vegetables from the nipping frosts; and, during the spring and summer seasons, its cold temperature not only chills and blasts, but its weight greatly injures the more delicate plants; frequently laying whole corn-fields level. But, though we cannot discover any ostensible use of hail, it is certain that the Creator has formed nothing, that is rot in some degree subservient to the operations of Nature.