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driven or enticed to the spot, and whilst gaz- ' In visiting his seat at Broomfield, the ing on the spectacle and wondering what the splendid apparatus he employed for extractmystery could mean, the contents of a Ley- ing electricity from the atmosphere would den jar were sent through his person. Boy first arrest the attention. Fancy the electric after boy was thus led into the snare, and re- telegraph of our railways stretching across a ceived a hearty shock, to his own excessive forest, with its posts mounted on the tops of astonishment, but to the infinite delight of his the highest trees, and the reader will be entormentors. Need we say that the leader of abled to form some idea of the scene in Mr. the revels—the highpriest of the perform- Crosse's park. Far overhead ran wires supance-was Andrew Crosse ? It was in sport ported by poles which rose from the summits that he commenced his electrical operations, of the trees, and were provided with an inwith nothing but a broken barometer tube sulating arrangement to prevent the disperfor his machine, and an apothecary's phial for sion of the fluid. The duty of these wires his battery; but before many years had was to fetch in the electricity from the clouds elapsed he was lord of the finest apparatus and the fogs, so that it might be examined in the kingdom, and was ardently engaged in at ease by the owner of the mansion. Withconducting some of the most remarkable ex- in the building there was a large room with periments which philosopher ever undertook an arched roof, originally intended for a muor accomplished.
sic hall, but now occupied by voltaic batteThe liking for science thus developed in ries, galvanic piles, electrical jars, and other the youth became the master passion of the implements of philosophy. It was a place man. After studying for a time at Oxford, where strange processes were in progress, which he described as “a perfect hell upon and where subtle streams of fluid, flowing in earth,”—he found himself in possession of a silent but ceaseless currents, were busily emcomfortable fortune on attaining his major- ployed in piling up little mineral fabrics, and ity, and established himself quietly in the compelling the obedient- atoms. to fashion family nest at Broomfield. There his days themselves into exquisite forms of crystal arwere spent, with little exception, not in dull, chitecture. But it was a place also where ignoble vegetation, like many a country the same element might be seen in its pride, squire, nor yet in making orders on putative and where it might also be heard in its fathers, and passing indignant sentences on wrath ; for all those wires could be made to hardened poachers, like many a country pour their supplies into a large brass conducmagistrate, but a large portion of his time tor, fixed and insulated on a table in the orwas devoted to philosophical pursuits which gan gallery, and fittingly inscribed with the demanded an extraordinary amount of pa- words, Noli me tangere. Not far from this tient toil, and to the imitation of processes conductor was another brass ball forming the which Nature conducts in such a calm, delib- extremity of a 'metallic arrangement by erate way, that centuries seem to go for mo- which the electricity might be conveyed out ments in her great laboratory. Not that of the building into the moist ground around. Mr. Crosse's duties as justice of the peace, There was a contrivance too by which the landed proprietor, or head of a fanrily, were current, when its strength became perilously at all neglected—no man appears to have great, or when its services were not required, been more conscious of his responsibility on might be turned off. altogether, and disthese points—but his chief business in this charged into the soil without entering the world, secularly speaking, was to cultivate apartment. But if the magician wished to electricity, and to draw out new uses for its observe the play of the fiery element, it was wonderful powers. And if ever mortal suc- easy to increase or diminish the distance be . ceeded in taming this fiery spirit, and com- tween the two brass knobs, and thus to regpelling it to drudge like some fettered, but ulate the charge to be received by the huge sleepless familiar—if ever, on the other hand, battery employed. Then, if there were any philosopher knew how to exhibit it in its electricity astir in the atmosphere, those balls might, forcing it to display its strength in would be sure to reveal the fact, and a sucangry, but measured leaps of flame, which cession of sparks and explosions, augmentburnt or dissipated all that opposed, Andrew ing in rapidity as the commotion increased, Crosse was assuredly the man.
would enable the observer to see into the
storm as it were, and listen to its doings retors were rashly approached, and thousands lated in its own voice.
of Richmans might perish in the emptying The results were surprising. With this of a single cloud. But as the excited vapors noble searching apparatus Mr. Crosse suc- roll on, the explosions begin to slacken in ceeded in obtaining an insight into the com- number, and a series of twin eruptions, alterposition of a thunder-cloud such as no one nating with periods of repose, shows that the else had done before him. Imagine a dense latter half of the cloud corresponds in its mass of vapor approaching the electrical ob- electrical arrangements with the former. servatory on a sultry summer's day. No Finally, the languid spark, and lazy snap ansooner does its margin arrive overhead the nounce that the hurly-burly is 'nearly done, exploring wire than the brass balls begin to or that the storm is travelling with the remannounce the commencement of the fray. A nant of its wrath'to some neighboring localspark is seen, a detonation heard, and these ity. heralds of the tempest are followed by a se- Thus were the thunder-clouds dissected. ries of mimic flashes and explosions some- Mr. Crosse was the first who traced and dewhat slowly delivered, for they may not per-fined the skeletons of these aèrial rovers. haps exceed nine or ten during the first To him they were no longer like whales, or minute of the convulsion. Then there is a weasels, or camels, or anything a Polonius pause, but after a while the apparatus gives might imagine ; but they were masses, having forth another set of sparks and snappings, a settled electrical structure, complex indeed, equal in number, equal also in force to those but as regular and harmonious as the belts of which have just been exhibited, but differing the rainbow. Formerly it was supposed that in this particular—that if the first consisted an excited cloud consisted of vapor similarly of negative electricity, the second will consist and equally charged throughout its mass. of the contrary description. Another pause But now it appeared that there was an electakes place; and then the sparks begin to trical nucleus impregnated with one species leap from ball to ball, but with greater vigor of fluid, round which ran zones of vapor arand rapidity than before; these are dischar- ranged in pairs, each pair exhibiting positive ges of negative - electricity as at the outset, and negative action in turn, and alternating and, when they have passed, a similar set of with what seemed to be rings of repose. positive eruptions invariably ensues. Again Further, it was manifest that the strength of the apparatus becomes silent, but it is only the cloud lay in its centre, for the fury of the for a short interval; 'a more numerous and discharges gradually increased as it apbrilliant succession of fashes soon announces proached, and diminished as it receded. that another zone of negative vapor is sweep- This circumstance was not at all in keeping -ing aloft, to be followed after a brief respite with what was known respecting the disperby a corresponding zone of positive electri- sion of the fluid on insulating plates or globes city. The intervals . of repose now grow made of a conducting material. There, the shorter, and at length a stream of fire is seen electricity is most abundant at the rim or to pour from one conductor to the other, superficies of the body: indeed, in a solid broken only by the change from one kind of sphere it disposes itself as a thin shell or atfluid to its opposite. When the centre of mosphere on the exterior, leaving the inner the cloud has reached the spot, and the ex- parts perfectly unexcited. But here, in the ploring wires are sucking the lightnings from cloud, the conditions appear to be reversed, its heart, the effect is inconceivably fine. and the fluid augments in power from the With the thunder roaring around the build- circurhference to the centre. ing, the windows rattling in their frames, the How explain this unexpected fact? Mr. rain dashing against the panes, the electric Crosse made it the topic of frequent considfire bounding madly from ball to ball, and eration. None of the solutions he could debursting incessantly as if enraged at the pre- 'vise seemed to afford him much satisfaction sumptuous mortal who had dared to drag it until one day, whilst shaving, the puzzled from its native sky, his must be a stout heart philosopher cried out, Eureka! and darted who could witness such a scene without some into his electrical hall with the lather still orfeeling of awe or even of alarm.. For there namenting his chin. He proceeded to try is death in every discharge, if those conduc- some experiments--for theory was nothing with him until embalmed in facts—and Nor is the interest of such a many-zoned speedily convinced himself that his surmises cloudt at all lessened by the fact that it prowere correct.
duces a corresponding disturbance and a The shaving discovery was this. A cloud corresponding distribution of the electricity is not a solid conducting‘mass, but a congre- in the earth beneath. Point for point, ring gation of vesicles separated from each other for ring, and nucleus for nucleus, it calls up by little intervals. The watery globules, if an answering tide of fluid in the ground by closely packed together, would convey the virtue of its inductive powers, the only differelectricity from one part to another with the ence being that the positive parts of the greatest facility, but being estranged by the vapor above are represented by negative beaction of caloric, the fluid can only be propa- | low, and vice versa. Thus, whilst a storm is gated to a small distance by direct commu- raging, we are helplessly stationed between nication. Induction, however, commences two excited masses, and if we were relatively where transmission ceases. Hence, if we as light as the paper figures or pith balis suppose electricity to be developed in any which frolicsome young electricians delight particular spot in such a medium, it will to see dancing between two metallic plates, spread itself circularly as far as its energy we might almost expect to be turned into will enable it to push through the inter- moveable conductors, and kept mounting spaces between the surrounding vesicles and descending until the troubled equilibThen it will begin to act inductively through rium was restored. Thus, too, whilst the the air, calling up the opposite kind of fluid storm-cloud courses through the atmosphere, in a ring or zone of watery particles, which its electrical rival is travelling along the ring or zone will be concentric with the ex- surface with equal rapidity, as if it were-but cited nucleus. This, in its turn, necessitates the shadow of the tempest above; and now the formation of another belt charged with and then the vivid flashes, darting from one the contrary species of electricity, and thus nucleus to the other, or from one zone in the whole cloud is mapped out into a series the sky to another in the earth, seem like of electrical rings, arranged in pairs, with the shots which armies moving by parallel barren intervals, and a central mass, which is paths sometimes exchange in their wrath or the metropolis of the storm. If the distri- in their wantonness. bution of the fluids could be rendered visi- It does not, however, require a professed ble, and their presence denoted by different thunder-storm to produce stupendous eleccolors vying with those of the rainbow in trical displays. Mr. Crosse's apparatus enbrilliancy—the interspaces being left in their abled him to read the secrets of a November natural condition—what an impressive spec- mist, and those who have frequently pushed tacle such à cloud would present as it rose their way through these cold, raw, dreary above the horizon, mounted to the zenith, and phenomena will be surprised to learn how then spread its huge folds over the heavens, often they may have. been sheeted in fire, like some monster serpent-say the Old Ser- and how calmly they have passed through a pent of Sin let loose from his invisibility, furnace more deadly than Nebuchadnezzar's, and coming in horrible magnificence to crush but without a hair of their heads being the world in his embrace. In the absence, singed in the flames. One day, during that however, of these pictorial aids, some of dismal month which Hood celebrates in a Professor Faraday's experiments afford a series of No-es, the philosopher was seated species of illustration which may assist the in his hall of thunder bolts whilst a thick, readers conception of the case. If a num- driving fog was darkening the air. For ber of small pails or vessels are arranged some time no symptoms of excitement were within each other-all being insulated by the manifested by the exploring machine: the interposition of sheets of shell-lac. or some insulators were dripping with wet, and conseother nonconducting substance-and if a ball quently carried off all the electricity the charged with electricity be suspended within wires received. But suddenly a smart detonthe innermost vessel, its inductive effects ation was hoord between the two balls; upon the whole set will express in some de
* It is scarcely necessary to remark that in gree the action of the storm-nucleus upon speaking of this adjustment into zones, it is not the remainder of the vaporous mass.
the vapor, but the electricity that is meant.
others shortly followed, and then the explo-sical affinity might relax, or the cohesive
« Let me
answer your getting their prescribed pace, would gallop question by asking another," replied Mr. round the globe, tearing up our towns by Crosse, laughing. “Don't you think, sir, it the roots and driving men and trees before might be considered rather impious to botthem like dust in a gale. The ties of chem- tle the rain water ?” And some thought
him positively demoniacal. “ That's Crosse | voltaic battery. For nine days the operation of Broomfield,” said an angry farmer at a was continued, but without the slightest permeeting where the politics of the philoso- ceptible result. He was about to break up pher had given offence to the agricultural' the arrangement, when the arrival of some mind, —"Crosse, the thunder and lightning friends compelled him to defer the step for a man ; you can't go near his cursed house at few hours longer. That delay gave the batnight without danger of your life: them as tery sufficient time to establish its character. have been there have seen devils, all sur- Visiting the apparatus on the tenth day the rounded by lightning, dancing on the wires delighted electrician perceived, on examining : that he has put up round his grounds.” the negative wire with the aid of a lens, that
But Mr. Crosse did not confine his atten- it was speckled with crystals of carbonate of tion to the grander phenomena in which lime. At the expiration of three weeks the electricity displays its powers: he was famous whole of this salt had been extracted from the for the use he made of his favorite fluid in liquid and deposited at the same pole. There the quiet and protracted processes of crystal- could be no doubt that the voltaic current lization. In this field of discovery, although had drawn out the carbonate of lime, for all slightly preceded in some respects by Bec- the particles had eschewed the positive in querel, he was entitled to the merit of a great order to patronize the negative wire, and on and independent discoverer. Men had doubt- applying a proper test to the water no further less grown much wiser than they were in the traces of calcareous matter could be detected. days of Pliny when it was believed that trans- Who would not have rejoiced like Mr. Crosse parent crystals consisted of snow or ice des on obtaining such a glimpse into the laws by perately hardened—crystallus fit gelu vehe- which Nature formed her minerals, and who mentius concreto; but some of the wisest would not have indulged in sanguine anticipawould have laughed as much at the English- tions respecting the production of many valuman as at the Roman, had our philosopher able substances now that a key to the process asserted fifty years ago that he hoped to pro- of crystallization had been found ? duce the most regular and beautiful crystalline Once launched upon the right course of informs by means of a simple voltaic current. quiry the philosopher prosecuted his reHis thoughts were first turned to this subject searches with singular shrewdness and sucabout the year 1807. There is a cleft in a cess. To imitate Nature closely was the limestone rock near Broomfield, called the great principle which ruled his operations. Holwell Cavern, where the walls and ceiling He knew, for instance, that minerals were are covered with a beautiful mineral vegeta- produced in the ground, and that caverns tion of arragonite-a
were the nurseries of stalactites, and therefore
“broider'd veil inferred that the manufacture of artificial Which nature in fantastic freak has thrown In snow-like moss upon the rugged stone,
crystals should be conducted without access From which a host of vivid beauties rise
of light. Acting upon this conclusion he In unimagin’d forms to lure the eyes."* contrived to cover a copper wire, immersed The philosopher could not help inquiring
in lime water, with brilliant crystals of carby what process these elegant figures had bonate of lime in six days when the experibeen produced. They could hardly be ascribed ment was tried in the dark, whereas ten to the chance dropping of water freighted days were required when it was performed in with carbonate of lime. There must be some open day. Indeed, when the crystals, born attractive forces employed to discipline the of the night, were afterwards exposed, they
particles, and arrange them in true crystalline“ entirely disappeared in the course of about array. It was natural that an electrician six weeks,” as if long concealment in the obshould think there was nothing like electri- scurities of the earth were essential to the city. Mr. Crosse did think so, and straight- consolidation of the finer mineral forms, just way proceeded to put the idea to the test of as solitude is often essential to the ripening experiment. Having carried off some of the of a genius which might languish if premaHolwell water, he poured a quantity into a
turely pushed into public note. tumbler, and exposed it to the action of a
By thus scrutinizing the conditions under
which nature worked, Crosse endeavored to From a Poeň, entitled “My Native Hills,” by approximate as far as possible to her proMr. Crosse.