Sea, strictly speaking, signifies a large body of water, which is connected with the ocean, and partly encompassed by land ; such are the Baltic, and Mediterranean Seas : though the term sea is, also, frequently employed to denote the immense fluid mass that surrounds the globe.
The sea is the genuine source of all rivers ; as the vapours, raised from its surface, are gradually dispersed over the earth, on which they descend in the form of drops or rain; and, by supplying streams, not only fertilize the vegetable kingdom, but at the same time, open an intercourse between distant nations or provinces; while they convey wealth, and thus contribute to the conveniencies of mankind. The colour of the marine fluid appears to be of various, shades; namely, green, yellow, black, etc.; these phenomena, however, depend wholly on accidental causes ; such as the depth of the water, the nature of the matter forming the bottom, or the motion of the winds: for, if sea-water be poured into a glass, it will be found transparent, like that drawn from rivers.
But, though the sea be thus beneficial, it appears from actual observation, that it daily encroaches upon the land ; in consequence of which valuable tracts will, in the course of time, be completely inundated : hence it has been deemed necessary to resort to embankments, or artificial dams, in order to repel the inroads of this element; and, with a view to facilitate such national object, the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, etc. have offered liberal premiums. Among the successful candidates, was Mr. John Harriott, of Rochford, Kent, who effectually secured 142 acres of land from the sea, by means of banks; and on whom, in 1785, they conferred their gold medal. In 1787, they bestowed their silver medal on the Rev. HenRy Bate Dudley, for embanking, draining, and freeing from the encroachments of the German Ocean, between 3 and 400 acres of land, that was formerly a stagnant marsh; but which, in consequence of , his exertions, was rendered worth 20s. per acre, on a lease for twenty-one years. In the year 1800, the Society adjudged their gold medal to the same gentleman, for his farther endeavours in that laudable pursuit. The tract, thus obtained, amounts to 20(5 acres ; and is defended from the ocean by an embankment of earth only, and which extends nearly one mile in length. It was commenced on a base of 32 feet, and carried up to the height of seven feet, for the more easy ascent and descent of the waves; a plane of five feet being left on the top, and the land-side of the embankment made as nearly perpendicular as the security of the base would permit. This land is divided into four extensive marshes, by means of twelve-feet ditches ; and all superfluous moisture is removed by numerous small drains or rills, that are cut in different parts of the tract. - Consistently with our limits, we cannot descend to particulars on this interesting subject; but, as nume-rous practical hints may be derived from the account of the different expedients ingeniously adopted, the inquisitive reader will consult the 4th, 6th, 14th, and 18th vols, of the Transactions of the Society before mentioned ; where he will meet with a clear and explicit narrative.