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desire and its gratification the solution of any conception of the scale on which the great that wondrous enigma, the distance of the work of warming and lightning is carried on in stars; the problem upon which astronomers the sun? It is not by large words that it can with their glasses have exercised themselves be done. “ All word-painting must break with such almost miraculous, and certainly down, and it is only by bringing before you the exquisite delicacy and refinement.
consideration of great facts in the simplest lan
The achievements of trigonometry, or the process the very outset here is the greatest fact of all,
guage, that there is any chance of doing it. In of Triangulation, must seem to ordinary – the enormous waste, or what appears to us readers almost as wonderful as to the sav- to be waste - the excessive, exorbitant prodiage seemed “the Talking Chip," as he call- gality of diffusion of the sun's light and heat. ed it; the two or three scratches upon a bit No doubt it is a great thing to light and warm of shaving, which brought to the missionary the whole surface of our globe. Then look at from a distance of miles the tools and appli- such globes as Jupiter and Saturn and the ances he needed for the carrying .on of the others. This
, as you will soon see, is something building of his boat. The grand discovery they occupy in the whole sphere of diffusion of the planet Neptune, by the calculations around the sun. Conceive that little globe of of Leverrier and Adams simultaneously pro- the earth such as we have described it in compaceeding seems almost to yield in its splen- rison with our six feet sphere, removed 12,000 dour to the discoveries more recently made of its own diameters, that is to say, 210 yards in the neighborhood of that great landmark from the centre of such a sphere (for that would of astronomers, the star Sirius, that “superb be the relative size of its orbit)! why, it would Star,” as our author well designates it, whose be an invisible point, and would requiro a light, which it takes twenty of our years to strong telescope to be seen at all as a thing transmit to us, and whose glories it would having size and shape. It occupies only the take four hundred such suns as ours to kin- / which it describes about the sun. So that 75,000
75,000th part of the circumference of the circle dle, has been for a long time one of the great of such earths at that distance, and in that cirlandmarks of astronomic observation. Cer-cle placed side by side, would all be equally well tain undulations of regular recurrence per- warmed and lighted, — and, then, that is only ceived in it, and which could not be ascribed in one plane! But there is the whole sphere of to parallax, were by anticipation ascribed space above and below, unoccupied ; at any sin. to the attraction of an Unseen compan- gle point of which if an earth were placed at the ion; and, in January 1862, Mr. Alvan same distance, it would receive the same amount Clarke of New York, discovered in its neigh- of light and heat. Take all the planets togethborbood a minute star which had eluded all er, great and small; the light and heat they reprevious observation. Its real existence has quantity thrown out by the sun. All the rest
ceive is only one 227-millioneth part of the whole now been verified, and Sir John believes escapes into free space, and is lost among the there is every reason to regard this as the stars; or does there some other work that we unseen companion, the presence of whose know nothing about. Of the same fraction thus mild power awakened the mystic palpita- utilised in our system, the earth takes for its tions in the fiery planet - forty-seven times share only one-10th part, or less than one-2,000the distance of the sun from the earth, cal- millioneth part of the whole supply. culations have fixed this dim and remote stranger. What an illustration does it fur. This paper, on The Sun, while it is perhaps nish of those refined celestial measurements most simply written, is also the most startto which we have referred; but even the ling in the volume. The telescope has resun himself, who seems so near and essential vealed wonderful things in this great friend to us, so much our daily neighbour and com- and most essential force of our whole syspanion that we regard him with more fam- tem, in whose being we trust we may say, iliar minds, furnishes a perfect retinue of without irreverence - we live and move wonders. The paper in this volume, enti- and have our being; and in a manner and tled “ The Sun," is full of what the author to an extent of which very few units comcalls “statements so enormous in all their pared with the thousands of millions of our proportions, that I dare say, before I have race, have ever had any conception. It is done some of my hearers will almost think remarkable that experiment has been me mad; or intending to palm upon them a brought with such an infallible refinement string of rhodomontades, like some of the to bear upon that immense and distant orb mythical stories of the Hindoos." What an that, by the operation of its powers we have astonishing paragraph, for instance, is the become aware of the very materials of which following:
it is composed. The paper under notice is
a simple, readable essay, such as might beBåt how shall I attempt to convey to you guile a parlour fireside of its dulness. Pro
fessor Tyndall more elaborately, in his essay sees it for the first time in a high degree of purion Heat considered as a mode of motion, evolv- ty, with wonder and delight; as I once had the ed from the solar spectrum, by decompo- gratification of witnessing in the case of that sing the light of the sun, the remarkable eminent artist the late Sir David Wilkie, who, calculation that "the chances are more than strange to say, had never seen a
Spectrum 1,000,000,000,000,000,000, to 1, that is in till I had the pleasure of showing him one ;
and whose exclamations, though a man habitthe atmosphere of the sun." Professor Kirchhoff has carried this splen- I shall not attempt to give any account of the
ually of few words, I shall not easily forget. did generalization forward to the discovery theory of this prismatic dispersion of the sunof calcium, magnesium, sodium, chronium, beam; but an illustration of it may be found and other metals in the solar atmosphere; in a very familiar and primitive operation - the although others, and with us the rarer and winnowing of wheat. Suppose I had a sieve more valuable, have as yet been undetected. full of mixed grains and other things shot, The records of science are now full of these for instance; wheat grains; sand; chaff; mysterious achievements and adventures of feathers ; and that I flung them all out across the human mind. Navigators discovering shot would fall in one place, the wheat in an
a side wind, and noticed where they fell. The unknown shores strike upon our human other, the sand in another, the chaff in another, sense of interest, but that solar spectrum, and the feathers anywhere - nowhere; but most beautiful and marvellous phenomenon, none of them in the straight direction in which has led even, like a wonderful ship, to a they were originally tossed. All would be destrange coasting about upon the shores of viated; and if you marked the places of each that great continent of heat and light, sort, you would find them all arranged in a cerseeming to bring its constitution and mate- tain order — that of their relative lightness rial a little nearer to us; and still, how al- in a line on the ground, oblique to the line of most less than nothing do we know. Most and assorted them, and formed a spectrum, 80
their projection. You would have separated of our readers must be, at any rate, popu- to speak, on the ground; or a pieture of what larly acquainted with this interesting mod. had taken place in the process ; which would in ern marvel of light; yet we think they will effect have been the performance of a mechanilike to read Sir John Herschel's very popu- cal analysis of the contents of your basket. lar description of it:
Sir John touches, but does not discuss, A ray of light is a world in miniature, and if the often-mooted question“ whether the I were to set down all that experiment has re- material universe be finite or infinite.” Of vealed to us of its nature and constitution, it would take more volumes than there are pages still unanswerable. What we do know is,
course any answer only leaves the question in the manuscript of this lecture. When the sun's light is allowed to pass
that light bears testimony to the uniform through a small hole in a dark place, the course and all-pervading energy which sustains the of the ray or sunbeam may be traced through universe ; the evidence for gravitation fails the air (by reason of the small fine dust that is us beyond the region of the double stars ; always floating in it), as a straight line or or only leaves us with a moral conviction, thread of light of the same apparent size, or amounting to a presumption, in its favour; very nearly so, from the hole to the opposite but light bears testimony for unity of design wall. But it in the course of such a beam be and action throughout the wide system of held at any point the edge of a clear angular the material universe. The lectures on polished piece of glass called a prism the course of the beam from that place will be seen to be “light” in this volume, form the most elab., bent aside in a direction towards the thicker orate and lengthy papers : and here again part of the glass and not only so bent or re- we are brought face to face with marvels. fracted, but spread out to a certain degree, 80 One of these is the singular phenomenon that the beam in its further progress grows con- or idiosyncrasy, as the author calls it, inhetinually broader, the light being dispersed into rent in the molecules of material bodies a flat fan-shaped plane; and if this be received of “right and left-handedness ;” also in on white paper, instead of a single white spot colourless, transparent, and perfectly homo which the unbroken beam would have formed on it, appears a coloured streak; the colours geneous fluid, which are found able to debeing of exceeding vividness and brilliancy, and viate the plane of polarisation of a ray following one another in a certain fixed order passing perpendicularly through them. -graduating from a pure crimson red at the end least remote from the original direction (or Stifl stranger that it should do so constantly least deviated), through orange, yellow, green in one direction for the same fluid, but in oppoand blue, to a faint and rather rosy violet. This site directions for different Auids ; strangest of beautiful phenomenon - the Prismatic Spee- all, that even vapours should be found possesstrum, as it is called — strikes every one who / ing the same property ; such is the case. Thus
oil of turpentine and its vapour turn the plane by whomsoever those virtues are exhibited. of polarization to the right hand, solution of I respect Henry Clay because he possessed sugar to the left, and so for a variety of other them; I do not respect Daniel Webster, substances. This property has been made the because he had them not. I respect poor basis of an elegant instrument ca!led the sac- John Randolph, because, with all his foibles, charometer, by which the quantity of sugar he was a man of honor. I cannot respect contained in a given solution is ascertained by Calhoun, because I cannot believe he was simple inspection of the tint so produced.
sincere. Above all, I respect the people of Such are among the wonders of which the United States too much ever to prethis little volume discourses - in that calm, sume to address them recklessly.
“ JAMES PARTON. reverent, and yet popular spirit, which can only produce upon the mind of the reader
“ New York, Monday, March 25, 1867." a healthy wonder, rather than a vain curiosity. It is impossible to do more, in the
Brief as this epistle is, it is characteristic space of a page or two, than merely to in- of the writer. He says what he wants to dicate its character, as really what it pur-say plainly, and in language that commands ports to be, a series of familiar papers, toucb- the attention of ordinary readers, who are ing upon some of those great potential spec- pleased by his regard for their opinion. ulations; like the modern theories of heat, The active writer hurries on from one tellfor instance, and its relation to the genera- ing sentence to another, until he reaches a
He is not pertion of every kind of force — speculations triumphant conclusion. and discoveries which, as we said in the plexed himself, neither does he embarrass commencement of the paper, are like an
his readers with nice distinctions or subtle entrance upon an infinite forest of thought, qualifications. He answers the charge of and creative essences and forms.
recklessness with the assertion that he reads all the books that bear upon his subject, and then writes with wbat he considers care, but does not tell us what share the
thinking faculty takes in his work, nor From the Boston Daily Advertiser. whether he uniformly aims at truth, never
at effect. He answers the charge that he PARTON'S FAMOUS AMERICANS.*
has “no respect for anything human
we should rather undertake to maintain that The New York Times publishes the fol- he has too much respect for things human lowing card from Mr. Parton:
by specifying certain qualities which he ". The Times has been so indulgent in admires, and declaring that two of his great noticing my performances
, that perhaps I men possessed them and that two others ought to submit in silence to its censure, possessed them not. It is true that he does and I would do so if those censures related Webster altogether without merit; but the
not consider Clay absolutely faultless nor merely to the literary execution of my one is to be praised and the other to be conarticles on Famous Americans. But when
demned. Before he takes up his pen, if you accuse me of writing recklessly' you bring against me a moral charge of which I not, indeed, before he commences to read know I am not guilty. It is with me an mind. Wishing the reader to be of his
for an essay, the author has made his
up invariable rule never to begin to write until opinion, he sets up on every page a guideI have exhausted every source of information accessible to me. "If, in the use of the post, which points to the foregone conclu
sion. material thus accumulated, I commit errors, which of course I do, it is always from
In the opening sentence of the article want of ability, never from want of care. close of the war removes the period preced
upon Henry Clay, Mr. Parton says: “ The Nor can I feel it to be true that I have no respect for anything human. I trust that ing it to a great distance from us, so that for every kind of human excellence, I have we can jndge its public men as though we the respect that is due to it. I do not re
were the posterity to which they sometimes spect a reputation not founded upon merit
, ton is incapable of judging the great men of
appealed. But it is certain that Mr. Par nor talent ignobly employed. Valor, self- whom he writes, in this impartial spirit. control, integrity, perseverance, considera- His biographies would have been what they tion for others, I hold in the deepest respect, are if written before the attack upon Fort * Famous Americans of Recent Times, by James
Sumter. No views are presented wbich Parton. Boston: Tieknor & Fields, 1867, pp. 473.
were not familiar to the newspapers ten years ago. Everybody knew that Mr. Clay | Nor has Mr. Parton the culture which to was a leader of men, and that he was the some writers supplies the place of genius. author of certain compromises which from He was not educated and he does not edlandmarks in our political history; that Mr. ucate himself upon good models. We do Calhoun sowed the dragon's teeth which not mean to say that he never reads classisprung up in the form of armed men; and cal authors, but that he does not assimilate that Mr. Webster was more remarkable for the best qualities of what he reads. Aimstrength of statement, than for fertility of ing at popularity, he resorts to such means invention. Upon the value of Mr. Clay's for its acquisition as are employed by other leadership and the utility of his compromises, sensational writers. He strives for effect upon the sincerity of Mr. Calhoun and upon and obtains it. He has been saved thus far the quality of Mr. Webster's intellect dif- from the fate of many popular authors by ferent opinions obtained years ago, as they his industry, his skilful choice of subjects, still obtain. Mr. Parton gives a popular his activity of mind, his clearness of stateexpression to views long held in political ment, and by bis common sense, when he circles, but he contributes nothing new. gives himself time to use it. The most striking portions of his article The North American Review has been upon Webster, for example, those which censured for admitting Mr. Parton's articles have excited most controversy, were evi- into the numbers which they enlivened, and dently inspired by Theodore Parker's well undoubtedly our leading quarterly ought to known sermon. What Mr. Parton has done be a model for its readers in point of taste is to translate Mr. Parker's language into as well as in point of temper and of scholarhis own vernacular and to find illustrations ship; but it is, first of all, necessary that it of his views in trivial incidents. His narra- should have readers, and these Mr. Parton tive is thus colored and the reader's mind is attracted. made up for him without bis knowledge. It is not thus that a great man's character
JOHN PENINTGON. should be approached. The hidden sources of his strength, the hidden springs of his Mr. John Penington, of Philadelphia, conduct, the real inspiration of his language who died on the 18th inst., was the last, if must be sought in a spirit of love and rever- not the only, American bookseller who repence. It does not do to cut the Gordian resented the old traditional booksellers. A knot of such a man's complex motives. It scholar of fine parts, thorough in his must be patiently untied. A " speaking knowledge of bookselling, with judgment likeness” which says nothing to those and skill, a bibliographer in its broadest who know the subject best is not a portrait and best sense, he was an honor to the that will live.
craft, and he took pride in it. He was a We might not have thought of making man of fine taste, of large reading, and of these suggestions had not Mr. Parton in- exhaustless service to all who were curious vited them. He ought to be content with in scholarship or earnest in the study of leta popular reputation, and not undertake ters. Descended from one of the old, reto play the part of " posterity” for which spected, and wealthy Quaker families of be is in no respect qualified. As a popular Philadelphia, it was accident that made writer he has great merits. Nobody goes him a bookseller. His father's large forto sleep over his articles. His commonplace tune was suddenly lost. During his youth is vitalized. His crude and frequently er. Mr. John Penington had gathered a valuaroneous generalizations are soon forgotten ble collection of books, and bad frequently in the bustle of the narrative. He just fails contributed to the literary proceedings of of being an excellent writer. He does not the various learned societies of his native take the pains to condense or to prune, per town. Not caring for general mercantile baps has not the discrimination necessary pursuits, and suddenly thrown on his own to judicious criticism of himself. He always resources, he quietly turned his library into writes just about so well, appearing to have his stock in trade, and with it opened one no aspirations above a certain level. It of the best bookstores of the country. would be difficult to find one felicitous Proud of his books, and contented with his expression in his last volume, or one graphic shop and the fair profit which it brought picture; yet there are numerous expres- him, he never allowed himself to be tempted sions that just fail of being felicitous, and from his chosen pursuit. His shop became sketches that just fail of being pictures :- the gathering place of scholars and men "Oh, the little more and how much it is!
with a taste for letters, and one generation And the little less and what worlds away." after another grew up almost under his eyes in the various branches of literature | always got from John Penington, of Philawbich he supplied. His business did not delphia. It is beside our present purpose stop with supplying books to his customers; to speak of him except as a bookseller; they were all his friends; they knew that but we should do wrong to forget that patrito him they could turn for help in every- otic Philadelphia during the last five years thing that related to books, and that his contained no man more sincere, and few knowledge was only surpassed by his readi- men more forward, in every good work that ness to impart it; and his help was never civil war imposed upon lovers of the counrefused to the earnest seeker after knowl- try. - The Nation, 28 March. edge, no matter how small his requirements of Mr. Pennington's services as a booksel
From the Saturday Review. ler. Bookselling with him was not so much a trade as an art; books with him were val
M. THIERS ON FRENCH POLICY. uable for their real, substantial merit; the M. THIERS has attacked the foreign polibook-buyer was precious in his eyes who cy of the Empire in a speech which will be knew what he wanted and why he wanted read with breathless interest by most it. He never got rid of his old love of Frenchmen. Seldom has there been a books for their own sake, and that love was more vigorous or skilful invective delivered too well founded in a knowledge of books against the conduct of the French Foreign ever to be lost in a poor ambition to become Office. The moment was not inopportune. a great bookseller a mere trader in so Half France has been wondering whether many thousand volumes of which he knew it is possible that the newfangled policy of nothing and thought less. One of the mat- Imperialism is, after all
, a series of suicidal ters of his trade in which he took pride blunders, and that NAPOLEON III. is an was the fact that his list of subscribers to overrated man. M. THIERS has seized the the new edition of Brunet was the largest critical occasion to pronounce with all the outside of Paris, and thus he brought to authority of a connoisseur that, considered gether the oldest bibliographer of the Old as a diplomatist, the EMPEROR is a failure. World and the youngest student in the The old tribune, which tbis year has reapNew.. With Brunet and with Bossange, peared by Imperial permission in the Chamas with all the other leading booksellers in ber, seems to have been restored just in Europe, his relations were intimate, and ri- time. The veteran debater and ex-Minispened always into fast friendships, each man ter spoke of the familiar rostrum as of an tinding in the other much to like and to re- old and valued friend, and, standing where spect. The sound judgment which charac- he had not stood for twenty years, seemed terized him in his private business was not like the ghost of old French Governments lost in other things; and in political and inveighing against the spirit of the new. public matters his advice was always safe. M. ROUHER, himself no mean orator, was He was frequently called upon to assist scarcely equal to the task of coping with the members of Congress in framing such parts complete and polished essay of his animated of the successive tariffs as were within his antagonist. The admiration of the Chamspecial business knowledge, and his recom- ber was equitably divided between the two mendations were never biassed by his own opposite harangues, but the vehement adinterests. The loss of such a man, capable dress of the Opposition leader has produced in his business, proud of it, and making out of doors a deep impression which the himself dear to his friends, is at all times a assurances and protestations of the Minister great one. Particularly is this the case have not yet removed. now and here, when study and scholarship The charge brought_by M. THIERS are taking their accustomed places, from against the policy of the Empire is that it is which they had been seriously disturbed by not the policy of common sense. - It has five years of war. The trade of book-selling only succeeded, he thinks, in leaving France in his hands was elevated to the dignity stranded and isolated in the middle of the that it really acquires in the hands of com- Continent. Her true interest, he conceives, petent men. Such men are rare every- is not to preside over the rise of nationaliwhere. Here, unfortunately, they are ties or the agglomeration of nations, but to growing rarer every day. In growing stand by the balance of European power. great rapidly we are not always growing Reduced to plain terms, this means nothing wise, and the men who mean to study and more than that, when Europe is weak, the want a book-shop and a bookseller to fur- French Empire will be strong. The “balnish them with the tools they need, will ance of power" is only a courteous way of look long and vainly for such help as they expressing the hopeless division of the Con