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guished men of his own and other countries, is, no son and daughter of Adam. Who of us is exempt doubt, the most valuable document in being, and a from sickness and pain? Here is a discovery (perricher legacy to his children than the ample for- haps yet only in its infancy) which promises suptune he leaves. This fortune is not the result of port to the trembling flesh in an hour of deep a niggardly economy, (for Mr. Adams always anguish, from the throes of nature, or the operaspent more than his official income,) but of two tions of surgery. If it were only for avoiding the successful speculations, and a great rise in value agony of losing teeth, which begins before we have of his patrimonial estates. Mr. Adams leaves fully passed through the pain of their growth, and also copies of every letter he ever wrote, and continues with us (painful warning !) till we lie down amongst his voluminous productions are most able in the dust—this discovery ought to be looked to eulogies on Madison, Monroe and Lafayette. His with the greatest interest by every one of our readown eulogy should be pronounced before our own ers. It is considered, in Europe, the greatest dislegislature, at its present session, by a statesman covery of the age we live in. and scholar of as industrious life, pure patriotism, In the second place, while royal societies and and unspotted private character as his own, the scientific academies, all over Europe, are seeking president of Harvard University.

to determine to which of the American claimants Mr. Adams was a devoted and true disciple of belongs the honor of this discovery—so that they Jesus Christ, whose gospel was his daily study, may rank him with Jenner, as one of the great and his life was illustrated by every Christian vir- benefactors of his species—the directors of the tue. His letters to his son and his lecture on faith cast a blast on infidelity, and breathed into made an official report, in which they endeavor, so

hospital in which it was brought to the test, have the Christian the breath of life. Mr. Adams leaves a widow, to whom he was

far as is in their power, to settle that question. married in London, in 1797. She was the

Here, where the discovery was proclaimed, where daughter of Col. Joshua Johnson, then consul at

the claimants reside, where all the facts are best London, and the niece of his brother, Gov. John- known-here, if anywhere, and now, if ever, can son of Maryland, a judge of the Supreme Court the rival claims be justly weighed, and that evidence of the United States, and a signer of the Declara- be put forth upon which the decision of posterity tion of Independence. Mr. Adams leaves also his will be founded. Without previous acquaintance youngest son, Charles F., who married a daughter with either of the parties, we will confess that our of lIon. Peter C. Brooks of Boston, and who has sympathies are with the man who has in some deseveral children ; and the widow of his eldest son, gree (and only temporarily, we are confident) imJohn, (who is also the niece of Mrs. Adams,) with paired both his health and his fortune by working one or two children. He owned and occupied the out this discovery. The decision in his favor is mansion house of his father in Quincy.

made by parties whose prepossessions must have In the halls of congress, where his career inclined them all the other way. closed, he was looked upon with veneration. As an important occurrence of the Living Age, There he devoted himself to the promotion of it is appropriate to our name and objects, to publish liberty and the defence of the oppressed and to the world, in an authentic and convenient shape, enslaved, to wrest the hand of violence and still what has thus happened in the city of our own res the iron voice of war. In the midst of his duties idence; and there are many reasons why the whole the shaft of death was sped, and his earthly career affair should be compressed into a single number. terminated. It was the death, of all others, he It can thus be more conveniently spread over the would have chosen. Such a life was worthy of face of the whole earth ; and it may thus be the such a death, such a triumph over the grave, and means of introducing our journal to thousands who such an entrance to eternity. On the eve of the would otherwise never have known it. This last day consecrated by the birth of the Father of his argument will, we are sure, be weighty in the minds Country, he receives the summons to meet him in of all to whom the growth and development of this the regions of endless felicity.

enterprise is desirable. No passion fierce, no low desire,

It will be interesting information to many of our Has quenched the radiance of the flame ; readers, that the gentleman whose name appears on Back to its God the living fire

the first page of this number, and who is now a Reverts, unclouded as it came.

member of the bar in Boston, is the same person

who some years ago published a very different chapCORRESPONDENCE.

ter of his own experience and travels, under the Many of our readers will be disappointed at title of Two Years before the Mast; a work which seeing so large a part of this number occupied by we think made a life-long impression upon every a single subject. We are free to acknowledge that one who read it, and which has probably, by turnit is not altogether satisfactory to us; but we ask ing the attention of many thousands of Americans the general reader to be patient while we urge a towards California, hastened, in some degree, the few arguments in favor of our course in the matter. occupation of the solitary shores of the Pacific.

In the first place, the subject is, above all things A few pages to the memory of a great man, to pertaining to this life only, (if, indeed, all matters whom we have private as well as public obligations, do not connect us with eternity,), important to every are all that remained to us in this number.

A History of the Ether Discovery

Report of the Trustees of the Massachusetts General Hospital-
Dr. Morton's Memoir to the French Academy,

Edited by R. H. 'Dana, Jr.,
Death of John Quincy Adams,

529 571 575

PROSPECTUS.—This work is conducted in the spirit of now becomes every intelligent American to be informed Littell's Museum of Foreign Li:erature, (which was favor- of the condition and changes of foreign countries. And ably received by the public for twenty years,) but as it is this not only because of their nearer connection with ourtwice as large, and appears so often, we not only give selves, but because the nations seem to be hastening, spirit and freshness to ii by many things which were ex. through a rapid process of change, to some new state of cluded by a month's delay, but while thus extending our things, which the merely political prophet cannot compute scope and gathering a greater and more attractive variety, or foresee. are able so to increase the solid and substantial part of Geographical Discoveries, the progress of Colonization, our literary, historical, and political harvest, as fully to (which is extending over the whole world,) and Vcyages satisfy the wants of the American reader.

and Travels, will be favorite matter for our selections ; The elaborate and stately Essays of the Edinburgh, and, in general, we shall systematically and very ully Quarterly, and other Reviews ; and Blackwood's noble acquaint our readers with the great department of Foreign criticisms on Poetry, his keen political Commentaries, affairs, without entirely neglecting our own. bighly wrought Tales, and vivia descriptions of rural and While we aspire to make the Living Age desirahle to mountain Scenery ; and the contributions to Literature, all who wish to keep themselves informed of the rapid History, and Common Lise, by the sagacious Spectator, progress of the morement—10 Statesmen, Divines, Law. the sparkling Eraminer, the judicious Atheneum, the yers, and Physicians-to men of business and men of busy and industrious Literary Gazette, the sensible and leisure—it is still a stronger object to make it attractive comprehensive Britannia, the sober and respectable Chris- and useful to their Wives and Children. We believe that tian Observer; these are intermixed with the Military we can thus do some good in our day and generation : and and Naval rerniniscences of the United Service, and with hope to make the work indispensable in every well-inthe best articles of the Dublin University, New Monthly, formed family. We say indispensable, because in this Fraser's, Tait's, Ainsitorth's, Hood's, and Sporting Mag- day of cheap literature it is not possible to guard against azines, and of Chambers' admirable Journál. We do not the influx of what is bad in taste and vicious in morals, consider it beneath our dignity to borrow wit and wisdom in any other way than by furnishing a sufficient supply from Punch; and, when we think it good enough, make of a healthy character. The mental and moral appetite use of the thunder of The Times. We shall increase our must be gratified. variety by importations from the continent of Europe, and We hope that, by "winnowing the icheat from the from the new growth of the British colonies.

chaff,by providing abundantly for the imagination, and The steamship, has brought Europe, Asia, and Africa, wy a large collection of Biography, Voyages and Travels, into our neighborhood; and will greatly multiply our con- History, and more solid marier, we may produce a work nections, as Merchants, Travellers, and Politicians, with which shall be popular, while at the saine time it wil all parts of the world ; so that much more than ever it | aspire to raise the standard of public taste.


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LITTELL'S LIVING AGE.-No. 202.-25 MARCH, 1848.

From the North British Review.

ception of a short Biographical Memoir,* and a Results of Astronomical Observations made during popular abstract of his astronomical observations

the years 1834, 5, 6, 7, 8, at the Cape of Good on the nebulæ and double stars, and on the bodies Hope, being the completion of a Telescopic Survey of our own system,f no suitable account of his laof the whole surface of the visible heavens, com- bors has appeared even in our larger treatises on menced in 1825. By Sir John HERSCHEL, Bart., K. H., D. C. L., F. R. S. London and Edin astronomy, and general readers have, therefore, burgh.

no adequate idea of the value and extent of his

discoveries. I Though his scientific studies did In the history of Astronomical Discovery there not, as we have already stated, commence till he shine no brighter names than those of Sir William had reached the middle period of life, yet he purand Sir John Herschel—the father and the son. sued them, under difficulties of no ordinary kind, It is rare that the intellectual mantle of the parent with all the ardor of youthful devotion, and with lights upon the child. By no culture, however that dauntless and indefatigable perseverance which skilful, and no anxieties, however earnest, can we never fails of success. Every step indeed of his transmit to our sussessors the qualities or the ca- astronomical career was marked with discoveries pacities of the mind. The eagle eye, the active equally interesting and unexpected. New planets limb, the giant frame, and the “form divine”.

and new satellites, were successively added to our the gifts of our mortal being, are frequently con- own solar system. Thousands of nebulæ and veyed by natural descent, and may be numbered double stars were discovered in the sidereal firmaeven among the rights of primogeniture ; but the ment, and in those remote regions of space where higher developments of reason and fancy, the bright the imagination had hitherto scarcely dared to coruscations of the soul, have never been ranked wander, and where the stars in countless multiamong the claims or the accidents of birth. The tudes seemed to be fixed in absolute immobility, gifts of fortune which we inherit or acquire, have the physical astronomer was directed to new sysbeen placed more immediately at our disposal, and tems of worlds—binary, ternary, and multiple in many cases have been handed down unimpaired exhibiting the general phenomena of annual and to distant generations; but Providence has reserved diurnal rotation, and rendering it probable that the for its own distribution, those transcendental powers law of gravitation extended to the remotest corners which give omnipotence to genius, and constitute of space. His invention of instruments, and of its possessor the high priest of nature, or the vice- new methods of observation, was no less surprising gerent of Heaven. In a destiny so lofty, the father than the wonders which they disclosed. Obstacles and the son have been rarely associated ; and in that other men had found insuperable he speedily the very few cases in which a joint commission surmounted. The telescope which Galileo held has been issued to them, it has generally been to in his hand as a toy, became under Sir William work in different spheres, or at different levels. Herschel's direction a stupendous machine, which In the universe of mind, the phenomenon of a supported the astronomer himself, and even his double star is more rare than its prototype in the friends, and which mechanical power was requisite fimament, and when it does appear we watch its even to move. There was in short no continuity phases and its mutations with a corresponding in between his inventions and discoveries, and those terest. The case of the two Herschels is a re- of preceding astronomers.

He adventured upon a markable one, and may appear an exception to our flight which left them at an immeasurable distance. general law. The father, however, was not called and he penetrated into regions where the ablest of to the survey of the heavens, till he had passed his successors have had some difficulty in following the middle period of life, and it was but a just ar- him. rangement, that the son in his youth and manhood, As “the telescopic survey of the whole surface should continue and complete the labors of his sire. of the sidereal heavens,” contained in the great The records of Astronomy do not emblazon a more work of Sir John Herschel, which is now before glorious day than that, in which the semidiurnal us, is a continuation and completion of the labors arc of the father was succeeded by the semidiurnal of his father, we shall endeavor to give our readers arc of the son. No sooner had the evening lumi- a brief and general account of the discoveries of nary disappeared amid the gorgeous magnificence

* Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, April, 1823, vol. of the west, than the morning star arose, bright viii., pp. 209–226. and cloudless in its appointed course.

+ Edinburgh Encyclopædia, Art. Astronomy. It has long been a subject of regret to the as- and works of Sir W. Herschel, by M. Arago, was pub

A very interesting and valuable account of the Life tronomical world, that in our language no extended lished in the Annuaire for 1842. It contains a full and account has yet been published of the life and dis- critical analysis of his discoveries, and is distinguished

by the eloquence and learning which characterize the coveries of Sir William Herschel. With the ex- / writings of that illustrious philosopher.






Sir William, interspersed with a few notices of most promising of the designs. " To these lathe principal events of his life.

bors,” he himself informs us, we owe my sevenSir William Herschel was born in the city of feet Newtonian telescope stand, which was brought Hanover on the 15th November, 1738. His father, to its present convenient construction about sevenwho was a professor of music, educated his five teen years ago, (in 1778,) a description and ensons in the same art; but William, who was the graving of which I intend to take some future second, after exercising his profession for about opportunity of presenting to the Royal Society. In five years, in Hanover, resolved to push his for- the year 1781, I began also to construct a thirty tune in England, where he arrived about the end feet aerial reflector, and after having invented and of the year 1759. Although he was enthusiasti- executed a stand for it, I cast the mirror which cally devoted to his profession, and pursued it with was moulded up so as to come out thirty-six inches such success, as to draw from it an income con- in diameter. The composition of my metal being siderably above his wants, his ardent mind was a little too brittle, it cracked in the cooling. I occasionally devoted to still higher objects. When cast it a second time, but here the furnace which he was resident at Halifax he acquired, by his own I had built in my house for the purpose gave way, application, a considerable knowledge of mathe- and the metal ran into the fire."* matics, and having studied astronomy and optics, Furnished with instruments so numerous and in the popular writings of Ferguson, he was anx- powerful, Mr. Herschel had now the means of ious to witness with his own eyes the wonders of surveying the heavens, which were possessed by the planetary system. Having received from a no other astronomer in any of the fixed observato friend the loan of a telescope, two feet in focal ries of Europe. With the earnings of a profession length, he directed it to the heavens, and was so not the most lucrative, and by the energy of his delighted with the actual sight of phenomena, own mind, and the labor of his own hands, had which he had previously known only from books, this private individual done more for the prosecuthat he commissioned a friend to purchase for him tion of astronomical discovery than all the soverin London a telescope with a high magnifying eigns of Europe combined ; and many years had power. Fortunately for science, the price of such not elapsed before he had outstripped in discovery an instrument greatly exceeded his means, and he men educated in all the mysteries of science, and immediately resolved to construct a telescope with supported by all the munificence of princes. The his own hands. After encountering the difficulties earliest of his observations which he deemed worwhich every amateur at first experiences in the thy of being published, were made between 1776 casting, grinding, and polishing of metallic specula and 1780, and related to the Periodical star o, in for reflecting telescopes, he completed in 1776 a Collo Ceti. They were communicated to the royal reflecting instrument, five feet in focal length, with society by Dr. Watson, junior, of Bath, and read which he was able to observe the ring of Saturn on the 11th May, 1783. This star was discovered and the satellites and belts of Jupiter. This tele- in 1596 by Fabricius, and was described as appearscope was completed when he resided at Bath, ing and disappearing periodically seven times in where he acquired by degrees, and at his leisure six years, (its period being three hundred and hours, that practical knowledge of optics and me- thirty-four days) continuing in the greatest lustre chanics which was necessary for such a task. for fifteen days. His experience in this scientific art was of the In these observations, which are not of very most remarkable kind. He had constructed for great importance, Mr. Herschel measured with a himself several two-feet, five-feet, seven-feet, ten- micrometer the distance of the periodical star from feet, and twenty-feet Newtonian telescopes, besides a very obscure telescopic star which preceded it, others of the Gregorian form of eight-inches, and he used a power of 449, his usual power being twelve-inches, two-feet, three-feet, five-feet, and only 222. This paper was accompanied by ten-feet focal length. His way of executing these another, read at the same meeting, “ On the instruments, at this time, when the direct method, Mountains of the Moon,” in which he draws the of giving the figure of any one of the conic sections conclusion, that the height of the Lunar Mountains to specula, was yet unknown to him, was to cast has, in general, been greatly overrated, and that, many mirrors of each sort, to grind and polish them as accurately as he could, and then, after

*No account of the aerial stand here mentioned, or of selecting and preserving the best of them for use, by their inventor.

the stand of the seven-feet reflector, was ever published he put the rest aside to be repolished. In this + This very extraordinary star, known by the name of way he executed no fewer than two hundred spec- posed to vary with its magnitude'; bul Captain Smith

Mera, has a' reddish yelloio color, which has been sopula, seven feet in focal length, one hundred and always found it to be reddish when viewed through his fifty, ten feet in focal length, and about eighty telescope. It has a companion, distant 116 seconds, of a twenty feet in focal length, besides a great num- Variations being from the second magnitude to invisibility

pale lilac color, whose angle of position is 88° 9'; its ber of specula of the Gregorian form, and of the and its place 2h 11' 16" R. ascension, and 3° 42' 39" S. construction of Dr. Smith's reflecting microscope. declination. Count De Hahn thought he saw another His mechanical labors were contemporaneous with companion Sir W. Herschel conjectured that a rapid his optical ones. He invented a great number of tain Šmith is inclined to think that there has been little stands for these telescopes, contriving and deline- or no movement beyond what may be ascribed to the

proper motions of o Ceti in space. -See Smith's Celestial ating them of different forms, and executing the | Cycle, vol. ii., pp. 59, 60.

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with the exception of a few, (i) to 14 miles high,) schel. The Royal Society of London elected him “the generality do not exceed half a mile in their a fellow of their body. His Majesty George III. perpendicular elevation.'

did himself the honor of granting him a salary of The next communication of our author to the £300 a year, so as to enable him to devote his Royal Society, was a letter to Dr. William Watson, time to astronomical research ; and all the scienentitled, Observations on the Rotation of the tific bodies in Europe successively admitted him Planets round their axes, made with a view to de- into the list of their members. termine whether the Earth's diurnal motion is per- With the fine telescopes in his possession, Mr. fectly equable.” In these observations, by which Herschel began in October, 1781, to make a series Jupiter's diurnal rotation was found to be gh 51' of observations on the light, diameter, and magni19", and that of Mars, 24" 39' 23", Mr. Herschel tude of the new planet; and in his paper on this employed a twenty-feet, a ten-feet, and a seven- subject read at the Royal Society on the 7th Dec., feet Newtonian reflector; and he obtained his time 1782, he described the dark and lucid disc and with a brass quadrant of two feet radius, carrying periphery micrometers by which these observations a telescope magnifying forty times, and by two were made. With this apparatus, by means of very good time-pieces, one having a steel pendu- which one eye, looking into the telescope, throws lum rod, and the other a compound pendulum of the magnified image of a planet or comet upon, or brass and iron.

near, lucid discs seen by the other eye, he found In the year 1781, Mr. Herschel was engaged in the diameter of the Georgium Sidus to be four a series of observations “On the Parallax of the seconds; and from the distance of the planet from Fixed Stars,” in which he used magnifying powers the sun, as calculated and sent to him by La of 227, 460, 932, 1536, and 2010, and on the 13th Lande, (18.913—that of the earth being i,) he March, when he was examining the small stars in found its diameter to be 4.454 times that of the the neighborhood of H. Geminorum, he discovered earth. what he thought to be a comet, and after observ- The researches of Mr. Herschel on the Parallax ing it till the 19th of April, he communicated “ An of the Fixed Stars, which we have already menaccount of a Comet” to the Royal Society, on the tioned, were chiefly of a speculative nature, and 26th of the same month. In this paper, he gives the result of them was published in the Philoits distance from certain telescopic stars in its sophical Transactions for 1782. The method first vicinity, and by means of a micrometer for taking pointed out by Galileo, and followed by Flamstead the angle of position, described at the end of the and Bradley, of measuring the zenith distances of paper, he obtained measures of its angle of posi- two stars, was regarded by Mr. Herschel as liable tion with the same fixed star. Although M. Mes- to various sources of error; and he was of opirion sier, to whom Mr. Herschel communicated his that though Bradley regarded the maximum parobservations, and who had with some difficulty allax as not exceeding 1", yet “the stars of the observed it, speaks of it in his reply as a star or a first magnitude might still have a parallax of sevcomet, yet neither of them suspected it to be a era) seconds." The method which he substituted, planet. Mr. Herschel, indeed, himself speaks of and which had been originally suggested by Ga

a moving star, which he was happy to sur- lileo, in his Systema Cosmicum, consisted in emrender to the care of the astronomer royal and ploying two stars as near to each other as possible, others.

and differing as much in magnitude as could be Before the close of the year 1781, Mr. Herschel, found, and determining their exact place at the two in a letter to Sir Joseph Banks, announced to the opposite points of the earth's annual orbit. The Royal Society, that, “ by the observations of the parallax of the stars was then to be computed by most eminent astronomers in Europe, the new star a theory founded on probabilities, and involving the which he had the honor of pointing out to them in two postulates : 1. That the stars are,

one with March, 1781, is a primary planet of our Solar another, about the size of the sun; and, 2. That System ;” and in gratitude to his Majesty George the difference of their apparent magnitudes is owing

to whose unlimited bounty he owed every- to their different distances ;" so that a star of the thring,” he gave it the name of the GEORGIUM SI- second, third, or fourth magnitude is two, three, DUS, a compliment which astronomers in every or four times as far off as one of the first. This part of the world have refused to pay. La Lande, method, ingenious as it is, has not led to any and others, gave it the more appropriate name of results on which confidence can be placed. The Herschel ; but the uniformity of astronomical no- postulates which it involves were contrary to all menclature demanded another name, and the appel- analogy, and have been completely disproved by lation of Uranus, sanctioned by more recent discus- the only measures of parallax which have been sions, was given to the new planet.

recently obtained.

But like many other speculaThis important discovery, by which the limits tions, the attempt to prove or to apply them led to of the Solar System were extended to nearly double results more important than those which they their former amount, was hailed by the astrono- directly contemplated. In searching for double mers of every country, and the highest expecta- stars suitable for his purpose, Mr. Herschel was tions were formed of the future labors of Mr. Her- led to the formation of those magnificent catalogues * It has been since proved that there are several moun

of double stars by which he enriched astronomy, tains nearly twice the height of Mont Blanc.

and those interesting results respecting the move

it as


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